What is the one festival where all Bob Marley fans go annually in Miami? Although it is still referred to as the Bob Marley Festival, it is in fact called the 9 Mile Festival and it took place last Saturday at Bayfront Park. With crowds from all walks of life scattered on top of blankets at the park, the all day festival turned out to be a fun and relaxing day in downtown Miami, although somewhat different than usual.
Since the festival is essentially a tribute to Bob Marley, most of the artist's called to play are reggae artists, which the traditional reggae lover would have no qualms about but this year they brought in dub-step DJ's, tribal music and even surf rock bands. It was a clever attempt at making the festival more attractive and appealing; and I, for one, thought it worked.
I made it into the venue just at the end of Kymani Marley's set. After that, no reggae was played for a while. Major Lazer, the collaborative DJ project of Diplo and Switch, came on. Aside from the fact that mostly the entire crowd was sitting down, it felt like I was at "Ultra."Then, Thievery Corporation followed with their worldly music, bongo drums and sitars to change the mood for a while. Slightly Stoopid the hip-hop, surf rock band from San Diego also performed and they were almost refreshing to hear before the main reggae act resumed.
In the end, it was Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley performing TOGETHER to wrap up the evening next to the lighted buildings of the Miami skyline. It was a perfect ending to a very different kind of festival. I think this new version of Marley Fest will give the festival a second wind so that next year people will buy their tickets a lot sooner. JAAAH!