Announcing 2017 GroundUP Music Festival

Article Contributed by The Rhythm Fou… | Published on Sunday, November 6, 2016

GroundUP Music is proud to present the first annual GroundUP Music Festival in Miami Beach, FL, February 10-12, 2017. Hosted by two-time Grammy winning artist Snarky Puppy – “a barnstorming, groove-centric instrumental act with a rabid fan base and a blithely unplaceable style” (New York Times) – the festival will feature a set from the band each day along with performances from an eclectic list of international superstars including two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee David Crosby, the new A Prairie Home Companion host and founder of the Punch Brothers, Chris Thile, mind-boggling guitar legend Charlie Hunter, Quincy Jones’ London-based phenom and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, and the most celebrated Cuban conguero, Pédrito Martinez, along with dozens of other remarkable artists.

The North Beach Bandshell’s Amphitheater and sprawling adjacent Palm Grove Park and beachfront complex will host the festival during the day with top local chefs serving inspired food and libations in the park. Partner hotel, the Deauville Beach Resort - site  of the Beatles’ first U.S. appearance after the Ed Sullivan Show – will serve as the venue for late night concerts on two stages featuring new artists and surprises.

Since its inception 13 years ago, Snarky Puppy’s grass-roots approach to the changing music industry has met major critical and commercial success. The band’s approach will be no different as they debut their inaugural festival. “After years of playing festivals ourselves, we’re very in touch with what we like and what we don’t. We’re trying to construct an ideal environment for both the listeners and performers,” says Snarky Puppy bandleader and GroundUP Music CEO Michael League. This will be achieved by a limited capacity of 1,500 at the festival each day, a series of special events from performers (ranging from film screenings and music business panels to scavenger  hunts), a central hub for artists and attendees at The Deauville, and an integrated and informal environment which will allow attendees to interact with the artists.

With their entrepreneurial spirit, Snarky Puppy and GroundUP Music opted to produce this entire festival independently, without any major promoter or sponsor. They instead turned to Miami native and former YoungArts CEO, and now GroundUP Music Executive Director, Paul Lehr, to help create the vision and spearhead the nascent festival. Lehr states, “Rather than the typical festival with hordes of people crammed together, overlapping music sets with mediocre sound, and giant barriers between artists and fans, we’re creating an intimate and immersive experience where the fans can appreciate the music up close in a setting with great acoustics surrounded by an idyllic park and beach, and actually interact with the legendary artists in the masterclasses and workshops that the artists themselves will lead throughout the festival.”

“In addition to the members of the band, our family extends to our crew and musicians from around the world,” says League. “We wanted to celebrate the unifying spirit of music by bringing everyone together for a few days.” The little empire includes the GroundUP Music label (distributed by Verve/Universal), for which many of the artists performing at the festival have recorded. That includes the most recent addition to the family, David Crosby, who will celebrate the release of his GroundUP debut, Lighthouse, and the world-premiere performance of League’s new project, Bokanté.

As “the most popular jazz band on the planet” (Downbeat), Snarky Puppy had a long list of   options   for   festival   locations.   They   ultimately   chose   Miami   for   the   ease   of international travel, climate, global feel of the city, and richness in musical culture, with the goal of creating a lasting impact on the community.

The first step towards building roots in the city is the partnership with the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and their great annual music festival, Festival Miami.  “This year, however, instead of Festival Miami doing the entire program on their campus, they have partnered with us and made their grand finale the GroundUP Music Festival,” says League, “and we’ve tried to create a seamless transition from one event to the other.” Saluting his many contributions to Miami and the larger musical community, GroundUP Music Festival is also thrilled that the Frost School’s Dean Shelly Berg will perform with his own band during Saturday’s GroundUP program. Other local talent includes Miami’s own Roosevelt Collier and the Lee Boys (all of whom are accomplished sacred steel guitar players) and Fort Lauderdale native John Medeski, who brings his brand new New Orleans-infused project “Mad Skillet.”

Not only are many local artists involved, but the local community has been extremely supportive of the project. Per GroundUP Executive Director Paul Lehr, “our amazing partners at the Rhythm Foundation (who run the North Beach Bandshell), the City of Miami Beach, Michael Spring and the Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and the University of Miami’s Patricia and Philip Frost School of Music and Dean Shelly Berg, have all come together to help make this happen.”

With room for only 1500 people a day, tickets will go fast. The intent is to keep the space comfortable and intimate in order to create an optimal experience for both the audience and artists.

Reserve a space now right here:

Confirmed GroundUP Music Festival Performers Include:

Snarky Puppy, David Crosby, Terence Blanchard, Laura Mvula, Chris Thiele & Michael Daves, Jacob Collier, Charlie Hunter feat. Jeff Coffin, John Medeski's Mad Skillet, Carlos Malta & Pife Muderno, Bill Laurance, Maz, Shelly Berg, Lee Boys feat. Roosevelt Collier, Pedrito Martinez Group, Banda Magda, Lucy Woodward, House of Waters, Michelle Willis, FORQ, Funky Knuckles, Bokanté