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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Losing our Coconut Grove events for various reasons

So as we suspected, we are losing more Coconut Grove events. Swarm, the large company that puts on a lot of events in Peacock Park (well four per year), is now taking the Sprung! beer festival and Grillin' and Chillin, the BBQ festival, to Wynwood. But Grovetoberfest and the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival, shown here, are staying in the Grove. Grovetoberfest sounds better than Wyntoberfest anyway. There is talk of creating a new craft festival in Wynwood and Swarm wants to be a part of it.

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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us in Coconut Grove (especially in the West Grove) will be all to pleased when the Grove Art Fair moves away, takes its gated event, overpriced food, annually repetitive and mostly dull art, traffic congestion and returns our public streets and quality of life to us once again. They will be most welcome to impose themselves on some other community.

February 10, 2016 10:43 AM  
Anonymous am said...

On the contrary, I love the CG Arts Festival and look forward to it every year!!! I love walking out the door and down the street to such a wonderful classy street party. Its gonna be a beautiful weekend in CG!!!!

February 10, 2016 2:02 PM  
Blogger J. Kay said...

I hate losing events. Sprung was the best day of the year in the Grove. Walking to drinking events in perfect weather is unbeatable. A neighborhood is only as good as its events, restaurants and nightlife.

February 10, 2016 3:51 PM  
Blogger Rosy Palomino said...

I love what J. Kay said: "A neighborhood is only as good as its events, restaurants and nightlife."

February 10, 2016 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If "A neighborhood is only as good as its events, restaurants and nightlife". Than what does that say about a neighborhood that keeps loosing its events, has over priced and unexciting restaurants, highest turnover rate and has lost its night life because residents want quite, no cruising of cars and 3 AM last call?

February 10, 2016 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would hope that our new Commissioner will look into this situation. Tony is a great responsible promoter. Sarnoff didn't like the idea that a promoter would come to town, throw a beer festival (which he didn't believe the Grove needed) and make money using City property. Really, that's pot calling the kettle black.

We need events, that's what makes us unique and brings business to the Grove. This needs to be reevaluated.

February 11, 2016 10:56 AM  

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