The street performance festival making a downtown takeover

When one thinks of Miami, many things come to mind – transit being one of them. We’re all familiar with the madness of rush hour traffic but luckily, there’s hope on the horizon. Many of Miami’s movers and shakers, specifically Rebecca Fishman Lipsey of Radical Partners and Marta Viciedo of Urban Impact Lab, are teaming up to involve locals in real solutions. They are also working closely with our local government and the folks over at Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works who can make real changes happen.

On Friday, December 9, Miami will have its first ever ‘Public Transit Day,’ encouraging people to take the pledge to ride transit with fun interactive activities throughout the day and night. Start your day at the Civic Center Metrorail Station for coffee and snacks from Jackson Health Systems from 7-9 a.m., a great way to kick off the celebrations. For lunch, head to the Brickell Metrorail for [email protected] and have a community picnic lunch at the county’s longest picnic table.

From 4-9:30 p.m. get ready to experience Buskerfest Miami, a street festival now in its fourth year. The original co-founders—including Justin Trieger, Amy Cozette San Pedro, Gary Ressler, Collin Worth and Ben Jervis—believed that people busking, or entertaining, would boost the activity and energy of Downtown Miami. This year, the fest features over 40 local performance groups.

“We get together as a group and try to gather a wide cross section of disciplines and styles,” said Trieger. “But we also want to have a programmatic bend to it so that there is some cohesion between groups and certain stops.”

When deciding how best to promote culture, public performances, community, and the merits of public transportation back in 2013, the co-founders decided that rush hour was the perfect time to infuse the area with something unforgettable.

“[Buskerfest] was marketed as an after dark event because we wanted to capture a large cross section of the community,” said Amy. “We thought that it would be a great time to attract people who worked in downtown and the surrounding area, and it’s also a time when other people can come to downtown.”
Although there are satellite locations for Buskerfest, the majority of it takes place just outside the stations of the Metromover Inner Loop. Before you start the journey, though, you’ll want to pick up a passport.

“With the passports, we assumed that most of the people we’d bring downtown wouldn’t necessarily know where they were or how to get around,” said Trieger. “It was always meant to be the main informational device but also a way for the attendees to vote for their favorite performers.”

Volunteers in bright yellow Buskerfest shirts will have plenty to pass out, and by collecting stamps you can also win prizes and receive discounts to local businesses.

At 7 p.m., all participants and attendees will gather around the fountain in Bayfront Park for the Buskextravaganza, ending the day’s events with a performance by Ketchy Shuby, as well as the raffle drawing.

No matter what you’re into—exploring the culture of Miami, free shows, or bonding with members of the community—December 9 is the day you’ll want to be downtown. Just be sure to leave your car at home.

Join the hundreds of other Miamians pledging to ride public transit on Friday. Read more about Public Transit Day and take the pledge here. If you’re new to transit, a helpful tool is the Miami-Dade Transit Tracker app. The mobile application is currently available for free via the App Store and Google Play and has a neat Trip Planner feature that can help you get started and get riding transit.

By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.