Losing our Coconut Grove events for various reasons
Grovetoberfest and the Seafood fest are back to back events, Saturday and Sunday, one weekend in October. I like that about the Seafood fest because one of the fun events of the year is the day the stone crabs are flown into the park.
One reason for Swarm's move, is that Coconut Grove is growing up; we are not that college party town anymore. We have multi-million dollar condos, upscale restaurants and businesses and older residents now. Gone are the funky artist cottages of the past.
"Wynwood is much younger and hipper than the Grove and it’s bar and restaurant scene is popping, so it just made perfect sense. Sprung! was the 'funner' counterpart to Grovetoberfest so we looked for a the perfect location and signed a deal and moved it. We also moved the Sunday event Grillin’ in the Grove. Although I loved what is was in the Grove, it just doesn’t make sense (financial) to do a one-day standalone event. So it too was moved to Wynwood," says Tony Albelo, CEO of Swarm.
After the last October's event, Peacock Park's grass was left a mess. It was all ripped up and muddy, thanks to the torrential rains at the time. Since that time, there have been rumors of Swarm paying hefty fees from $20,000 up to $100,000, but as of now, Tony tells me that he has not met with the city of parks department and they have not been fined.
There is a new city rule that is affecting the Coconut Grove Bed Race and that is one major reason that has not happened yet. It was to happen in November, then January and now who knows when. The problem is now the City of Miami wants event organizers to sign an open ended contract - that holds them liable for any damage to city property, which makes sense, except for the open-ended part. How can anyone sign a contract, not knowing with the final cost will be? Do they owe $1000 for damage or $1 million?
Other municipalities in Miami-Dade have approached so many of our event organizers, including the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. These other cities are willing to foot all costs, just to have the events in their city. They will not charge any fees to the event organizers, they will provide everything turn-key. The event organizer only has to show up and throw the event, not having to worry about costs, which of course, is every event organizer's dream. But Tony, along with others, prefer to keep their events in the City of Miami, for now.
"I love my City. For better or worse it is the hub of South Florida. We have been courted by other municipalities (Doral, Miami Beach, Coral Gables) but for now Miami is home to all of our events," said Tony.
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