Miami's creative civic catalyst is here and happening. That was my immediate thought upon arriving at the volunteer both for BuskerFest this past Friday, December 12th.
I got the invitation e-mail the night before and was excited to check it out and support it. After all, BuskerFest was almost exactly the same idea Ginny and I had had for the Rail Runner but put into action Miami-Style. I jumped in to volunteer instead.
There concept is great, given the limited functioning public transportation in the Greater Miami area ...or anywhere for that matter. I was as skeptical as I was hopeful that people would turn up.
Downtown Miami has a MetroMover system that resembles a short loop of an airport terminal link system at best. BuskerFest managed to transform the regular commute of downtowners for a few hours through street performances from music to juggling. In my station , most people were positively shocked and confused by the fact that there was something happening, others who knew about it from friends and social media came with their event passports asking for stamps.I have to say I don't think I'd ever been so excited to give anyone a sticker... EVER.!
Later on, I had some guy told me " This is great, is it every friday? You know ... You should tell the metroMover people about this, they would love it" . I smiled. From the planning perspective, this short festival is an amazing step forward for creative planning in Miami. No need to close streets, free rides from station to station,by the water [ ... ] there couldn't be a better location to plant the seed of civic engagement. However, where are the people?
Brickell, Coral Gables, Wynwood and Downtown all have G I N O R M O U S buildings full of young and not so young people and access to reliable public transportation, or their pretty little feet , yet the turn out wasn't as big as it could be given these facts.
Change takes time and Miami is well behind the times, however, change IS happening. I'm always puzzled by the many people I talk to on my day to day who always have a New York reference when it comes to the culture and arts, formal or informal. Yet, Buskerfest is pretty much an effort to introduce the informal yet organized culture of NYC street performance to Miami ... to EVERYONE .. FOR FREE ... and many people are talking about NYC somewhere else rather than take part of it on the streets of their Miami Neighborhood.
All in all , I have to say that BuskerFest was GREAT, and I am happy to have been there to help this time and hopefully in the future. BuskerFest is paving the way for itself to become bigger and better and for other creative planning efforts in Miami.
Big Thank to the Organizers , sponsors and partners for making this possible for Miami.
Check out BuskerFest
For past photos and upcoming events!