Make Music Miami wants to make the arts accessible across the 305

Miami is known as a place that marches — but mostly dances — to the beat of its own unique drum. While there are plenty of places to enjoy live music and concerts, a lot of them are concentrated in areas like South Beach, downtown Miami, and other entertainment districts.

Make Music Miami is looking to change that.

The all-day event is June 21, aka the longest day of the year, and live music will pop up at outdoor spaces and locations across Miami-Dade County.

We spoke with Justin Trieger, cofounder of Buskerfest and one of the organizers of the event, about how the day came together, making music accessible across the 305, and plans for any potential rainy weather.

HOW IT STARTED: Make Music Miami, and its nationwide counterparts, take their inspiration from the French Fête de la Musique, but Justin says that was only part of the reason he started the event.

The origins go back to 2017 when folks from the Make Music Alliance came to Miami to meet with some music-focused nonprofits, including his company Buskerfest and others like Guitars Over Guns and the Rhythm Foundation.

Justin says they were looking for some community stewards to help make a Make Music Miami day possible. The Rhythm Foundation, the French embassy, and others had been hosting their own mini fêtes in the 1990s and 2000s but they wanted to do something on a larger scale.

Given the success of Buskerfest, an outdoor music festival where performers gathered at transit stops and various public spaces around town, the alliance and Justin felt like Make Music Miami could be possible.

“The reason we were approached by the Alliance, and the reason we felt we could do it, was because of the way our fest took shape over the last five or six years,” Justin said. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of people in local government and we have the institutional knowledge of how the permitting process [works] and where there could be road blocks.”

THE GOAL OF THE EVENT: The goal is to give everyone in Miami-Dade County a chance to experience some live music near where they live, for free in an accessible way.

Justin pointed to the fact that while Miami has a lot of live music venues, and cultural centers, they aren’t always affordable or easy to get to for people around the 305.

For us, it’s like a two-fold kind of message of providing easy access to the performing arts and also showcasing the original spirit [of Fête de la Musique] and using music as the inspiration to do that,” Justin said.

HOW TO CHECK IT OUT: The Make Music Miami website has an interactive map showing performances around the 305, going as far north as Aventura and south to the Redland.

There are also a few highlights like the Youth Music Summit at the Lyric Theater in Overtown. That event will allow local students to learn from local and national teaching artists and then showcase their sounds later in the day.

And if you can’t make it to a specific jam, then keep your eyes peeled for a roving karaoke van that will be riding around town and inviting folks to “sing a little Bon Jovi if they want,” Justin says.

RAIN CHECK: And since it’s still summer in Miami, we had to ask Justin about their plans for the rain. He said he’s encouraged by the forecast but noted that many of the parks and event spaces have sheltered or covered areas in case of bad weather.

They’ll also have a webcast via the event’s social media channels that will allow people to tune in, if they’d rather not stand in the rain.