Amanda Curling knows what it takes to put herself in contention to take in Jazz In The Gardens for free – and she does it, filling in multiple entries from The Nassau Guardian and dropping them into the entry box. And “Lady Luck” was on her side once again as her name was pulled for the second consecutive year as the winner of a complete package. Curling joins the Star 106 Hits winner Lynette Williams and they will be making music moves next weekend at the 15th Annual Jazz In The Gardens (JITG) Music Festival in the City of Miami Gardens.
Curling and Williams both won complete packages for two from The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits, inclusive of Bahamasair tickets, hotel accommodations at Comfort Suites Sawgrass or Holiday Inn on 103rd Street, Dollar Thrifty Hertz car rentals and concert tickets for both nights.
The hottest concert in South Florida, which is definitely on, features a stellar lineup of Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson, H.E.R. Stokley from Mint Condition, Kirk Franklin, SWV, The Roots & Bilal with Uncle Luke, Nelly, Keyshia Cole, saxophonist Mark Felton and Mike Phillips bringing the jazz to the JITG lineup.
“Oh my god, that is so great! Oh my god,” said Curling when she found out she had once again won a complete package to take in the show. “I filled in plenty coupons, trust me. I was buying newspaper like crazy. I think I put in about 14, which was less than I put in last year.”
“I had such a great time last year,” said Curling who went to JITG for the first time last year, and most wanted to see Lionel Richie. This year she says Mary J. Blige is the draw for her.
“This means Jazz In The Gardens will be my spot every year,” said Curling after her second consecutive win.
Once learning she had won, she took to the telephone, informing people of her win to see who is available to accompany her to the show in seven days.
Last year, two of her sisters, along with a coworker, partied with her at Hard Rock Stadium.
JITG organizers promised something special in this 15th year for the Live Nation Urban and Live Nation Miami-produced music festival, and they delivered with a stellar lineup headlined by Blige, the most requested artist in JITG history; Scott, one of the most talented artists in the world who is again gracing the stage; as well as everyone’s favorite uncle Charlie Wilson, who, after multiple appearances at the festival, never disappoints; and H.E.R.
Comedian Rickey Smiley will once again return as host of the event.
Williams is one of the few winners who will be attending JITG for the first time. She was excited her name was pulled and said she’s always wanted to go to the music festival.
“I’ve always wanted to go hang out and have a good time,” said the excited Williams.
While she knows most of this year’s lineup, she, like Curling, is most excited to see Mary J. Blige.
Williams will make a girls’ weekend of it with her cousin, Jenaette Richardson.
“She (Richardson) was the one who encouraged me to enter, so it’s only fair I take her,” said Williams.
While Curling and Williams were complete package winners, they were among a host of people who won random concert tickets.
Lionel Haven, who is going to JITG for the second consecutive year, with a group of his friends, and received random tickets, described the event as “fantastic”.
“This event is such an awesome event. For people with any musical tastes, this is a must-attend concert,” said Haven.
This year’s JITG opening night party will feature DJ Boweezy, DJ Tight, DJ Flyguy and DJ Waytrae getting the party started at the Hard Rock Stadium, Club Level with two rooms to party.
Off the concert stage, and back by popular demand, will be the Women’s Impact, an inspirational experience designed to inspire women to live centered, active, fulfilled and balanced lives. It’s an event to which men are welcomed to attend and celebrated as well. Attendees are entertained and engaged by guest speakers who deliver powerful expertise on how to create a happy, healthy, spiritual and centered existence. The luncheon takes place Friday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hard Rock Stadium, Club Level.
JITG Music Festival is a vibe that’s like nothing else you will ever experience. It allows you to go to the festival alone, or with a friend. If you attend alone, rest assured there are people that will dance and sing with you, and if you attend with a friend you will leave with more friends, because it’s not just a concert, it’s a complete experience, as promised by Oliver Gilbert III, City of Miami Gardens mayor.
JITG, according to the mayor, is the City of Miami Gardens’ special way of saying hello to the world. And Bahamians are among the thousands flocking to JITG in droves to take in the city’s signature event.
For the 11th year, The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits have partnered with Bahamasair, Comfort Suites Sawgrass and Dollar Thrifty Hertz to give Bahamians the opportunity to take in this amazing experience that Tony Williams, Star programming director, describes as “fantastic”.
“This is going to be a fantastic show,” said Tony. “I want to see Uncle Charlie. I enjoy him every time I see him. And Mary J. Blige – I just love her…you get so much emotion from her because she puts herself into the performance because she tells her life story. Jill Scott is great. And Kirk Franklin is going to be a really upbeat performance. They will definitely name some locals and from past experiences the local acts have been really good and to be looked forward to.”
JITG is a show that Tony said he definitely looks forward to annually, but he said he’s most excited to partner with Jazz In The Gardens to give The Nassau Guardian readers and Star 106 Hits listeners the opportunity to enjoy a great show and experience.
“Very seldom do you get the opportunity to see this many artists together, and so for me to be able to do this for our readers and listeners is a real treat. Through our partnership with Jazz In The Gardens we can give them an opportunity to see the best show in town in the City of Miami Gardens.”
Woodrow “Woody” Wilson, Bahamasair senior consultant, sales and marketing, said at the national airline they look forward to partnering with The Nassau Guardian and Star 106 Hits every year for JITG.
“This is one of our major events because we know it’s an event the Bahamian public looks forward to, and we look forward to providing the public with the best rates out there to take them to Jazz In The Gardens. We’ve been a partner from day one, and as long as The Nassau Guardian and Star are promoting Jazz In The Gardens, we will be there with them.”
Bahamasair is offering a rate starting at $242 inclusive of all taxes.
As usual, Wilson and Bahamasair have partnered with hotels in Florida to provide special rates for Bahamians flying in for the popular music festival and have negotiated special rates at Comfort Suites Sawgrass at $109 plus tax per night, and at the Holiday Inn on 103rd Street at $129 plus tax.
Wilson, a huge fan of JITG, says he’s looking forward to seeing Charlie Wilson perform again.
“I look forward to seeing Uncle Charlie every year, he’s my favorite. I don’t care how many times I see him, he puts on such a show. They don’t make music like that anymore,” he said.
This year’s lineup came later than usual, but the wait was worth it when the roster was finally revealed.
JAZZ IN THE GARDENS
When: March 14-15
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
Tickets: $99-$602 online via ticketmaster at www.jazzinthegardens.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 14
Mary J. Blige
SUNDAY, MARCH 15
The Roots with Bilal and Uncle Luke