So I decided to write a first person column about what I heard about SuperFest Miami and the bottom line is, WE ALL NEED TO GET TO THAT FESTIVAL AND SUPPORT TED LUCAS AND ALL THE SMALL BUSINESSES WHO ARE VENDORS. And I’ll explain why.
Read this shit as you’re getting ready to go out there or something lol. The gates opened at 3pm today so you still have time to go, and there will be events tomorrow.
Please note that I’m deciding to leave all my sources anonymous at this point because I realized the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I learned the real story behind SuperFest Miami Live and you guys need to hear it.
So let’s start with how the issues with the vendors got on my radar. I got some random WhatsApp texts and videos from a vendor about SuperFest Miami Live and the texts read as the following.
“Please talk about this on Hy-Lo News. We paid our money as vendors for SuperFest. They have us all the way in the corner. No one has made a dime. We protested yesterday and as you can see Ted Lucas cussed us all out. We tried to call the news and everyone; the police won’t let them in to record us.”
After asking would anyone go on the record this person replied, “ Yes. I have vendors here sleeping in their cars– $30,000 in losses… We are all at a loss for words– over 30 vendors. People are packing up trying to move.”
The person who told me, said they were reaching out to other news outlets including WSVN and I didn’t want to be scooped. So I made the post below. In hindsight I should I have waited a bit. I will say this, I am more prone to believe the underdog in situations like this. However, this wasn’t one of those cases.
I will say this up front, TED LUCAS DID NOT CURSE ANYONE OUT. That was a rumor circulating around the vendors that had grown into a lie from a conversation that one of them had with Ted one on one. But I heard the guy who had the conversation say Ted didn’t do that. So that’s clear.
In fact, I have video of Ted doing the exact opposite of cursing people out. I’ll share below. He came out and addressed the vendors and spoke to each of them about their concerns. The video cuts out before he speaks to everyone one on one, but I have a confirmed source who is working very closely with the event who said Ted did speak to everyone.
So here’s the thing I deduced from all of this. Ted isn’t to blame for EVERYTHING happening, although he is the leader of this event, so he’s going to unfortunately take most of the brunt of complaints. There was also a lead organizer by the name of Darrell who was dealing with vendors and they were upset with him as well. He was eventually mentioned in my FB post once I learned of him.
So if you don’t know who Mr. Lucas is, here’s a link to info about him. But to make a long story short, he is the brains behind and founder of Slip-N-Slide Records and he’s a philanthropist. He’s signed artists such as Trick Daddy, Trina, Rick Ross and so many others. I was told from a source that he wanted to do this large event for his hometown of Miami Gardens. He firmly believed –even from my meeting with him last November — that black people should not be left out of the economic impact of the juggernaut that is the Super Bowl. He saw there was no official NFL programming in Miami Gardens and decided to create it. That’s pretty admirable because many could not or would not do that.
Early on the lofty idea seemed great and many big brands had promised to come on as sponsors, a sourced told me. Some of those sponsors, who pulled out before the event, were going to help fund the event. After they pulled out, I was told Ted had a decision to make and he decided that this was too important not to have, so he put up his own money to make sure the event happened. It was not confirmed, but I’ve heard numbers somewhere in the ballpark of $5 Million was invested to make sure his community had a world class event. From what I was told, Ted always had great intentions and wanted this to be a success for everyone involved. He did an interview with 103.5 the Beat’s Papa Keith and broke down what his vision was for Superfest Miami. See full interview below.
I also think those brands should be called out for not investing in our community. I don’t know who they were, but I’m sure it’s a place where many of us shop or get services from and they didn’t think enough of us to come here. Salute to the sponsors who did come.
One thing that I will say might have been a blunder were some of the team members who were brought on. I was told Ted had never done an event like this and enlisted professionals that he thought could help him pull it off. However, I don’t think those people did the best job. Here’s why I say that. Whoever promised those vendors a crowd of 20,000 people a day and a sold out show, exaggerated. Vendors told me they were also led to believe the event was going to be at Hard Rock Stadium. Also, the over projection of attendance greatly inflated the cost to be a vendor to an amount that it shouldn’t have been– especially for this being a new event. I kept asking the sources who were working with the event, why would the people selling vendors into the event price the fee at $7500? In the video you saw above, you could hear someone saying these prices are higher than other annual events, that brings in crowds of more than 40,000 people.
That was a recipe for disaster and the vendor coordinator should have under promised and over delivered. Also, there were too many vendors sold into the event — those crowds that did attend could not service 30 food vendors. Although, I must note that the videos on the Superfest Miami Instagram page show more people attended than what was reported to me by the vendors. But even with the crowd that did come, some vendors said they made no money at all or only $20 in total sales so far.
So to the people talking about marketing, I do know for a fact the team did media buys. There were social media ads, digital ads, and radio ads flowing everywhere I looked. Also the signs on the gate went up to show y’all the event was coming. I think there could have been deeper outreach done to reach people at multiple marketing touch points. And also let’s keep in mind that Miami Gardens is not super close to many hotels so it’s not in a walk-able distance from where many people are lodging. I know they have a street team passing out flyers but if you haven’t reached those tourists ahead of time it’s a lower percentage that they’ll attend– especially if they have to drive 30 minutes plus away in traffic. Also many of the music artists are booked for parties on Beach and Downtown Miami — which could have been competition for SuperFest.
And let’s not act like it hasn’t been raining for the past few days. I don’t like going anywhere when it rains as does many people. That can affect attendance too. Most of yall reading this are South Florida Natives and know what that means for an outside event. I mean Ted Lucas is an influential man, but he damn sure can’t control mother nature.
And let’s talk about the Viewtopia concerts. That was a last minute partnership with an organizer who was having issues with Marlins Park where the event was supposed to originally take place. They saw SuperFest Miami as a better alternative and moved their event; which is pretty cool when you think about the headliners they have. People who bought tickets were given the option to receive a refund, so we don’t know how many people opted to get their money back; which of course affected attendance. HOWEVER, I was told that Cardi B is still confirmed to perform tonight and that earlier this afternoon she was doing a soundcheck. If they let me in the event, after all this shit I posted lol, I’ll definitely go see her perform and you should too.
So the moral of the story is, we need to get our asses to SuperFest Miami. Even though I TOTALLY understand why some vendors have pulled out, there are still small businesses and black owned businesses out there who just had the hopes of making money for their families this weekend. Small businesses really fuel a large part of our job market. We need to support them. And I’m not going to lie, it felt good driving down 27th Avenue and seeing all the stuff happenings. The Ferris wheel and other rides lit up at night was a beautiful addition to the Miami Gardens skyline, especially with the stadium in juxtaposition. I felt proud to know that my hometown was doing all it could to make sure residents and visitors saw that we can too put on great events — that our city was worth visiting.
AND please NEVER forget that if the NFL had done more programming in this area, just one event or two; it could have increased visitors to this area. Also, remember that Miami-Dade County controls more of what happens here locally for Super Bowl than the host city. To me it seems like our area was purposely left out of the economic impact of the Super Bowl. Yall need to take that up with your County Reps and ask what happened and why? Because there will be more Super Bowls here, we need to make sure they stop leaving us out. But hey this county has nearly 20% Black residents and ONLY 2% get awarded government contracts; that’s a stat that desperately needs to change. And if history should teach us anything, remember why there was a boycott planned by black people about 30 years ago. They were fighting for the same equity we’re fighting for today. Let’s also remember that it takes resources to put on events like this and many people just don’t care to see us have them. Nor do they see the value in us. But Ted Lucas saw the value in us and those vendors saw the value in us. Let’s see the value in us too and attend Superfest Miami Live.
Thanks for reading. I hope this gave yall some clarity on what happened.