What started as a small showcase at a popular downtown Miami venue, known at the time as the Stage, has grown into a music festival featuring local and international artists. The “5 de Mayo Fest” debuted at the Miami Beach Bandshell in 2014; two years later the name was changed to Miami Beach Reggae Fest to reflect the music and performers.
After that, the reggae festival all but disappeared.
“From 2016 to 2021, my partner and I took a break from production to become parents, and when the pandemic hit, we dreamed of the return of live music,” says Edilberto “Eddy” Morillo, one of the co-founders. of the event. with Eliane Mayer returning this year as Feel Good Music Fest at the Miami Beach Bandshell on Sunday, September 18.
Morillo, who lives in Miami and is originally from Venezuela, created the group Bachaco, which is also part of the Feel Good Music Fest lineup.
With a new name and more internationally acclaimed artists and bands, it will be “a party like no other.” And as if that weren’t enough, there will be several guest DJs and a drum jam by the Vibe Tribe,” says Morillo.
In the past, the festival has hosted renowned Latin and Caribbean artists such as Doctor Krapula (Colombia), Gondwana (Chile), Los Rabanes (Panama), Laguna Pai (Peru), Ojo de Buey (Costa Rica), Alika ( Uruguay), Johnny Dread (Cuba), Sudakaya (Ecuador), Tarmac (Colombia), Reggae Lou (United States), among others.
Morillo says it’s the only festival in the region to feature the best Latin reggae and Caribbean stars; its aim is to reach a wider audience. “It’s all about ‘feel good music.’ The idea of mixing different musical genres like reggae and rock or hip-hop to create a unique feel-good vibe is what we are looking for,” says Morillo.
One of Feel Good’s biggest draws is Inner Circle, a Jamaican reggae band that has stood the test of time. Founded in Kingston, Jamaica in 1968 for the love of music and live instruments, it became well known for such hits as “Bad Boys”, featured in the eponymous film starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and for the song “Sweat (A la la la la longue).”
“It was all about live music,” says Ian Lewis, bassist, vocalist and founding member of the band.
The Grammy-winning quintet enjoyed a string of hits dating back to the mid-1970s.
Its secret to success, says Lewis, is a shared belief in music’s ability to unite and heal, which has held the band together through five and a half decades of triumphs and tragedies.
“The longevity of the ever-changing music industry and the fact that we’re always here to perform and bring the roots of reggae to all cultures means the world to us,” says Lewis.
Lewis says authenticity is also central to the band.
“From Jamaica to Miami, we met so many artists from all different cultures, from Latin to hip-hop. The relationships we build are so important to us. This is what keeps us going. We are always growing and evolving because the music industry is always on the move. You have to follow and maintain your integrity and creativity with a touch of authenticity,” he says.
Also performing are Bahiano, an Argentinian reggae legend well known for his deep vocal style and success in Latin America; Gondwana, formed in 1987 in Santiago, Chile; and Gomba Jahbari from Puerto Rico, as well as Mulato and Alimoña Kush.
“The family just keeps growing and the support for feel-good music this year has been overwhelming,” says Morillo.
– Jonel Just, ArtburstMiami.com
Feel Good Music Festival. 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, at the Miami Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-453-2897; feelgoodmusicfest.com. Tickets are $49.99.