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GroundUp Music Festival ’24 Unleashes a Sonic Odyssey!

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Snarky Puppy’s Genre-Defying Extravaganza Takes Miami on an Unforgettable Journey through Musical Ecstasy.

February 2nd – 4th, 2024

Snarky Puppy’s collective of top-tier musicians coalesced yet again for their 8th annual Ground Up Music Festival at Miami’s Bandshell arena. Musicians and music lovers filled stages and shoes of all attending GroundUp. Aside of an astonishing amount of top-tier musicians, there was not a single person among the audience, staff and volunteers attending among us who were not passionate fans of musical delight.

Miami Bandshell provided great ambiance to the crowd, milling to see Snarky Puppy launch the GroundUp Music Festival’s sold out first night. The dozen plus instrumentalists wasted no time, beating, stringing, keying and horning the night right open of this beloved annual event’s 8th grand year at GroundUp.

The band’s first night began with them hosting a ‘Family Dinner,’ a throw-back to original NYC recordings 10 years ago. As their performance began, they invited special guest after special guest to join the instrumentalists of Snarky Puppy, beginning with the eloquent flutist, Ms. Hendry-Hughes. The three drummers broke-beat tempos kept pace as vocalist wonders revolved behind the mic, strings, keys and horns, a vibrant ecosystem of musical adventures. Lucy Woodward, Chantae Cann, Marlena Marqasae, the beautifully theatrical Magda Gianinnkou… Femme Fatale after Femme Fatale came to slay for a song or two as Snarky Puppy set the stage for their glory. Final guest for Snarky Puppy’s amazing initial set, her first time sharing the stage with the band Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball (of Tank of Bangas!) enamored us all. Ms. Tarriona Tank Ball, should we even need a diplomatic ambassador to parlay with our dolphin neighbors, your voice will serve far more than Humanity’s delight.

Latin vibes stirred warmth in bellies and waves in hips below. The music, the passion, the stage presence, the theater of it all…  Snarky Puppy shared an OG track from their MySpace days (as though we didn’t feel old enough). This night, the world saw Bobby Sparks shred a keyboard with a wawa pedal/lever. Nikki Glaspie is nothing short of an unstoppable goddess upon the drums. Even before Snarky Puppy’s final two songs, all their amazing guests assured no more Muppet Show Band like performance had ever been seen before. Yes, Snarky Puppy & their guests ARE a real-world Dr. Teeth’s Electric Mayhem, without need for approval by Jim Henson’s estate.

Right after Snarky Puppy’s set, MiamiBloco‘s near five dozen drummers marched out like powerful horse hooves making thunder, are feet felt struck and across our chest as well. For the Sambo lovers flooding the audience, no time was wasted getting hips swaying and bouncing rapidly. Their chant like syncopations stirred the crowd to roar in unison. The primal appeal of this ancient instrument will never be digitized. Take that, NFTs! Toward the end of the performance, MiamiBloco- formed from the community at Snarky Puppy’s first GroundUp Music Festival, 8 years ago- encouraged everyone to join with dozens of spare drums and a communal drumming series. The communal nature of music making culture and human connection was profound among the grounds of Miami’s Bandshell during Ground Up.

For the first night’s final performance, members of Los Munequitos & Afrocumba Allstars and lso Osain del Monte brought primordial rhythms and soulful chants echoing through unseen eras to all our ears. Fantastically costumed, silent but vigorously dancing frontman/men were as vital to the theater of music as the “moperc” conga drummers and rhythmic chants themselves. Though understanding the language was beyond me, the ‘story’ was understood with the way the singer appealed to the dancer’s spirit and the brotherly interactions of the dancing human spirits on stage.

Although issues prevented my attendance to the late-night shows, as well as the final two days of Ground Up, the enormity of music slated for the weekend ahead was previewed on Friday night. I may have missed Louis Cole’s Huge Band, but my fortune found him playing a song he wrote for the first time ever to the public with Snarky Puppy on Friday night. Yes, though an hors d’oeuvres of Chantae Cann was savored during her guest appearance, I wish I was there to feast upon her 6pm Saturday performance. It is true, I missed a lot beyond Snarky Puppy’s follow-up performances. Fuensanta, Basstardos, Nate Wood, Marcus Strickland’s project… how my heart aches not to have the endurance for see Nikki Glaspie’s late night closing night jam.

My regrets would not be so great, should I have been able to attend the rest of the weekend at GroundUp Music Festival. Regardless of this year, next year’s GroundUp with Snarky Puppy and guests are something for all local* lovers of music to seek. Nothing against our passionate peers from elsewhere: shout out to Emily & Dan, who came from a wintery world many states to the North, just to join us for Snarky Puppy’s awesome GroundUp Music Festival! Make sure to feel welcome to join us all there next year. I’m already looking forward to the 9th GroundUp Music Festival in ‘25.

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 Late Night at Zey Zey Miami on February 4, 2024 in Miami, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 2 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

  • GroundUP Music Festival Day 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell on February 3, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida

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