More than a music festival – it’s an EXPERIENCE
Two of the most important numbers are coming up in the next two weeks – 15 and eight. There are exactly 15 days left to the 14th Jazz In The Gardens (JITG) Music Festival in Miami, and eight days to the announcement of the people that will be taking it all in for free courtesy of The Nassau Guardian and Star 106.5 Hits FM.
And as usual, the JITG organizers have produced a stellar lineup for the City of Miami Gardens event, which will once again be hosted by Rickey Smiley at the Hard Rock Stadium.
The lineup will include Lionel Richie, who festival producers say has been one of the top-requested artists from social media; legendary R&B powerhouse Brandy; the JITG All Stars – neo-soul songstress Maysa, saxophonist Nelson Rangell, jazz bass guitarist Gerald Veasley; keyboardist Lao Tizer; guitarist Chieli Minucci; Tye Tribbett bringing the gospel – and that’s just Sunday.
Saturday performances include Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Teddy Riley and Friends, featuring 1990s superstars Blackstreet, Dave Hollister, Bobby Brown and Doug E. Fresh, with special guests En Vogue and R&B favorites Jagged Edge. Rounding out the R&B lineup will be Stephanie Mills and the O’Jays, as well as eclectic violinists Black Violin.
And American hip-hop group the Sugarhill Gang kicks off the festivities, tapped for the opening night party at the Hyundai Club at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida, on Friday, March 8 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Tony Williams, Star 106.5 Hits programming director, has said this year’s JITG is for people that love “real” music – music they can understand the lyrics to. If you’re one of these people, this JITG is a must-not-miss event.
For the 11th year eight people will be able to take in the awesomeness that is JITG for free, as The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits team up with Bahamasair to give away four weekend getaway packages for two for the March 9-10 event at the Hard Rock Stadium, inclusive of concert tickets, airfare with the national flag carrier, hotel accommodations at Comfort Suites Sawgrass and La Quinta Inns & Suites and transportation with Hertz Dollar Thrifty.
Persons can win two ways: filling in the entry form printed in The Nassau Guardian, clipping it out and dropping it off at The Nassau Guardian, located on Carter Street, Oakes Field; or listening to Star 106.5 Hits FM and sending a WhatsApp voice note saying “Take me to Jazz In The Gardens” to telephone number (242) 431-1605, to be automatically entered. Two winners will be randomly selected from each medium on Friday, March 1.
People can enter as many times as they want. The Nassau Guardian and Star 106.5 Hits will also be doling out a number of concert tickets, apart from the grand prize winners, in the upcoming weeks.
“We’re making it really easy for people to enter,” said Williams, who has attended JITG every year since 2009 and is excited for this year’s lineup.
Williams, who has never seen Lionel Richie perform live, is excited for the opportunity, along with the remainder of the lineup.
“Every year we say ‘How are they going to top this year?’… But this year they topped it. Everyone who loves old-school music will love the artists on this year’s lineup. We’ve got folks like Teddy Riley, who was popular back in the 90s, so those folks who grew up with that music will definitely love this year. There’s also En Vogue, Doug E. Fresh…Stephanie Mills, who will just be awesome, and Lionel headlines Sunday night. They keep getting better and keep topping the previous year. We always say how are they going to do it, and they always come through.”
Woodrow “Woody” Wilson, Bahamasair senior consultant of sales and marketing, says JITG is normally the highlight of his year. As usual, he is encouraging people who want to attend the 14th JITG Music Fest to book their flights early and take advantage of their early ticketing prices that start at $256. As the concert weekend draws near, he said, airline seats will be hard to come by, and prices increase due to the popularity of the event.
He said the partnership between The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits and Bahamasair for this event continues to be phenomenal, as they’ve seen hundreds of people travel on the airline for the JITG weekend.
Wilson, like Williams, is looking forward to seeing Lionel Richie, as well as Doug E. Fresh, on the stage.
“I remember one year early on meeting him (Doug E. Fresh). He wasn’t in the lineup that year, but he came out and did an impromptu [performance] that set the crowd on fire, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him as a part of the act.”
Bahamasair has partnered with hotels in the United State to accommodate the Bahamians who will be flying to Florida for the event at great rates. As of today, Comfort Suites Sawgrass is offering a $109 nightly rate; La Quinta, next to the Broward Mall, is offering a $159 nightly rate, based on double occupancy; and Indigo Lakes, which he said also has a great rate, is the closest hotel to the venue. Hertz Dollar Thrifty is offering convenient vehicle rates for those who are just going to go ahead and book their weekends without waiting to see if they’ve won.
And if you’re one of those people who has yearned to attend JITG, but just hasn’t done so yet, Williams said this is the year to experience it for the first time.
“If you haven’t experienced Jazz In The Gardens, and if you’ve never experienced an outdoor concert before on this scale, this is the one to go to.”
“The problem always is people looking for airline seats at the last minute. And for anyone wanting front-row seats at the concert, those seats are gone early,” he said.
Outside the concerts and party, the third annual FMAC (Film.Music.Art.Culture.), where business meets art meets the community, will take place, as well as the eighth annual Women’s Impact Luncheon and the third JITG Poetry Contest with a $10,000 first prize.
Saturday, March 9 (Gates open at 3 p.m.)
Teddy Riley & Friends – Blackstreet, Bobby Brown, Doug E. Fresh, EnVogue, Jagged Edge
Sunday, March 10 (Gates open at 3 p.m.)
JITG All Stars – Maysa, Nelson Rangell, Gerald Veasley, Chieli Minucci
Opening night party
Who: The Sugarhill Gang
When: Friday, March 8
Where: Hyundai Club, inside Hard Rock Stadium
Time: 8 p.m. – 1 a.m.
JITG tickets are available as of Thursday, December 31 (at jazzinthegardens.com).
Two-day ticket prices ($16 facility fee on top of each ticket price) are as follows:
Platinum – $225 in advance, $247 day of show
Prime – $158 in advance, $180 day of show
Reserved – $137 in advance, $158 day of show
General admission – $99 in advance, $119 day of show
Single-day ticket prices ($8 facility fee on top of each ticket price)
Reserved – $89
General admission – $72
Silver Ambassador – $1,203 (includes two-day platinum tickets in row two or three, two tickets to the official JITG pre-party, two two-day wristbands for the VIP restroom facilities, one parking pass for Saturday and Sunday, exclusive JITG merchandise inclusive of a JITG laminate and T-shirt).
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.