The inaugural Friends of Nature Festival has all the ingredients to succeed. Taking place Nov. 9-10th on Virginia Key on Key Biscayne, the event seems poised to capitalize on a "music-festival" formula which really isn't that hard to execute when broken down. To begin, one must realize that a "festival" captures the spirit of a counter-culture and is never only about music. A good festival, like Bonnaroo, which I've covered and also based a novel on, understands music may be the main attraction, but what makes a festival well-rounded is when it expands to include all aspects of culture -- not only music, but art, film, comedy, food, the healing arts and environmental and political awareness.
Friends of Nature (FON) are nailing it to a tee: making its central theme environmental awareness. Not only are they offering entertainment, but they want to teach us a thing or two with lectures and workshops featuring scientists, filmmakers, philosophers, marine-biologists and inventors. FON is truly attempting to advance the music festival formula and they should be applauded for the effort.
You can argue that the headlining acts at FON could be stronger, and they could. Matisyahu, Café Tacvba, We Are Scientists, to name a few, aren't headlining toe-tinglers, like Phish or Mumford and Sons; but this festival redeems itself with a dedicated and organic commitment to the city of Miami.
They are setting the festival in Miami and including Miami in the festival. You won't see that at Ultra. Study the line-up at FON and you will find every awesome band that has been paying dues in our city for years: Suenalo, Afrobeta, Krisp, Panic Bomber, Locos Por Juana, Bachaco, Elastic Bond, Lanzallamas, Jahfe, ArtOfficial and on and on -- thank you fon fest -- this is extremely dope.
You can argue South Florida has a stale taste in its mouth due to the epic fail of Langerado. Maybe this city just isn't very headie, unless it's an EDM event, like Ultra, but FON fest should obliterate that argument. Granted, FON is in its first year so there will be some glitches, and it needs to mature. Ultra was tiny in its first few years, but the FON fest can succeed, especially if the city is engaged.
And we should be! This is Miami for Miami by Miami -- let's represent.
I'm excited. The location is pristine. The ticket prices reasonable. The musical line-up is good enough. I could ride my bike there. The comedy line-up is exceptional. Their website is easy to navigate. They are following the formula.
The only thing that would dampen my enthusiasm would be rain.
So, rain, rain, go away -- come again some other day.