Jazz in Gardens is the Place to be this Weekend (March 18-20 at Sunlife Stadium)
By Janey Tate (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have been to all but two Jazz in the Gardens music festivals since they began 11 years ago. I missed the first and the third year events, but I was introduced to the festival– their second year– when I needed to complete an assignment that required me to attend a jazz concert while attending Florida International University (Go Panthers!). I had heard in passing about the new concert, but had no desire to attend. I was glad I went. In those days the event was a truly jazz and R&B event with a Latino flair and Sunday line-up to match. My first year attending, the great and so soulful India Irie performed and gave me life. In those days there were less than five food vendors, no shopping and general admission had no chairs. Although the premier music event was in its infancy stages, I could see the potential. My mom, aunt and I enjoyed ourselves so much that we vowed to make it our annual ‘thing to do’ —and we did, and so did everyone else. Even though JITG is far from the humble jazz event that city officials in Miami Gardens began, it still holds on to its spirit, which is a first class event where we all come together for a weekend of good soulful and turn-up music, food and fun with people from all over. If you have never attended JITG, below are five reasons why you need to make it your plan or ‘move’ (as my cousin from D.C. would say) this weekend.
1. The Performances Are All The Way Live
The Jazz in the Gardens music festival has consistently given us memorable performances. From Erykah Badu performing “The Light” with Common (my fav!) to Pattie Labelle pulling out her seemingly magical carpet and expanding her arms like a bird’s wings to do her signature “Pattie flap” as I like to call; JITG gives their audience many exciting performances in one jam packed weekend. And this year with Usher, Janelle Monae, Babyface, Fred Hammond, Kool and the Gang, newly added Charlie Wilson (a.k.a. Uncle Charlie) and a host of other great performers; I know this year’s event will not let us down. All I need is for Usher to take us back to 8701 (one of his albums) right quick and my weekend will be made. Also, don’t forget to show the local talent some love, get yall a**es out there early at 3 p.m. when the gates open to see some really good singers, including CriStyle Renae, Ronnie VOP, La Vie and April Raquel. Google there music so you can know some songs to sing along to when you get there.
Link to line-up here >>> http://jazzinthegardens.com/2016/index.html
2.The DJ Sets in Between Performances Are Too Turnt
Do you remember that scene in Poetic Justice where Tupac, Janet and their crew crash that family reunion, Pac tells his friends not to worry because we all related somehow and then ‘cousin’ welcomes them to the BBQ? (If you have never seen Poetic Justice then shame on you!) Well that’s the feeling you get when you enter the gates of JITG and the vibe is chill and welcoming, and the DJ’s play a big part of creating that party atmosphere. It’s like hearing the best old school and new school mix all dang day. Everyone lives for it! To the DJ’S you’re the real MVP’s, you keep us lit and we thank you.
3.The Food is so Good
Miami is already known for hella good cuisine especially with the influences of our Caribbean and Latino brothers and sisters, food is a huge staple in our culture. JITG knew they had to bring the best food vendors to fill your stomach while you jam and party to some of your favorite artists. The food is so good that it has made local superstars out of people like “Reid the Conch Man” and new comer Lovely’s restaurant. Reid’s pineapple filled with conch salad topped with conch fritters on a stick is a treat many people get each year. It’s so many food vendors and they’re all really good. I try to buy from a new vendor each year and no one ever fails me. I will give you this disclaimer though, those food lines aren’t a joke, you better go fill up while someone is performing who you don’t want to see, because you will wait lol.
*Tag your business if you’ll be a food vendor so people can know to look for you*
4.The Shopping in the Vendor’s Garden is on Point
This is a feature that was added a few years back and I love it. When I get to the event early I like to walk around to the retail vendors and sponsors, shop and window shop (lol) to see what’s new and hot. You can literally buy a whole new outfit out there and have a wardrobe change. There are also vendors there selling home goods, hair products, and there are some sponsor goodie bag giveaways. There’s also a photo booth over there so you can have an official memento of the event. I’ve bought accessories and dresses while there. It’s a cool place to stroll through with your good girlfriends or with your boo (and max out his credit card lol jk.). Get your shopping fix in the Vendor and Sponsor area.
5.The people are Lit, General Admission Especially!
This is probably my favorite thing about Jazz in the Gardens—the people. I rarely go to mass events like this where everyone is on a “let’s chill and have a good time” vibe. This fellowship could be with your family and friends as well as total strangers while at JITG. I’ve heard that some people only see each other at this event and look forward to vibing with each other there. And thanks to the DJ’s who keep us dancing, you could literally dance with thousands of people at once. You know we all love a good line dance and you haven’t ‘Electric Slide’ or ‘Wobbled’ until you’ve done it with 40,000 people. The synergy created from the good vibes and positivity is damn near tangible. You can really leave JITG having made a new friend.
There’s so many reasons to go to JITG, so make this year your year to go. We’ll be strolling through the event flicking it up to find JITG fashions, so be on the lookout for Hy-Lo News. We’d love to feature you ;-). See you guys out there!
*SN: Shout out to all the official and unofficial JITG music festival auxiliary events. There is a Women’s conference tomorrow in Aventura (details on the JITG website and flyer below), an official kickoff party at Iguanas nightclub in Pembroke Pines, parties at Gulfstream Park, a fashion show in Plantation, and a HBCU 5K walk/race in Miami Gardens Saturday morning. Have fun and be safe this weekend!