On the way to the Grassroots Festival, I can’t help but think, not another overcrowded, trendy Miami Music Festival. I’m not looking forward to waiting in lines, the parking situation or getting stared down by masses of roid raging security guards. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Upon arrival, I take notice of the cool, crisp air the bright sky and the beautiful surroundings or Virginia Key Beach. What was once designated in 1945 as the only beach for African Americans in South Florida, is now mostly full of hippies wearing yoga pants and jamming to local bands. After about 30 minutes, I’m starting to get pissed. Everyone here is way too nice. Not what you expect from a typical trip to Miami. After all, I just drove by the very spot on the bridge where the infamous zombie bath salt incident took place.
This is a four day weekend packed with events; yet there are no fights, nobody humping trees, no riot police in sight and nobody has pulled a gun. It’s f*%$&#@ refreshing. There are children running around, familiar faces everywhere, people are smiling, throwing frisbees and having a good time. I see rows of RVs, tents, vendors booth selling handmade jewellery, organic foods, local beers, massage therapists and more.
The weekend’s festivities include everything from yoga classes, chi gong, Latin dance, African dancing, Brazilian drumming, meditation, solar power demos, educational workshops on peace, gardening, herbal medicine and performances from well-known local bands and DJs. There are even a few out of town groups like the Big Mean Sound Machine from New York. The 10+ member funk band performed Saturday night for an enthusiastic crowd. Dr. George Love is an acupuncture physician who was teaching his own unique style of dancing Qi Gong. The Miami Scratch Academy was on location giving DJ lessons and the School of Rock even had their own stage with teenage performers.
The setting was beautiful and the atmosphere serene. This was the fourth annual Virginia Key Grassroots Festival and we hope there are many more to come.