Haitian Compas Festival in Downtown Miami

Saturday May 18, 2013, the streets of Downtown Miami came alive with the singular Haitian musical beats of compas. A musical style with its beginnings well over a century ago, compas (kompa, konpa) took over the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park with its sonorous beat and piercing, often provocative lyrics. The celebration took place on the Haitian Flag Day in the middle of May, the month designated as the Haitian Heritage Cultural Month. The tickets went on sale for anywhere from $35 to $100, and the '21 and over' age restriction shows just how rowdy, or at the least, suggestive, a compas festival can get.


Hosted by DJ Griot, who's held the post for 13 years, the show featured the Haitian Diva, Emeline Michel, Belo, Carimi, NuLook, Ambiance, controversial group, Brothers Posse, and Djakout, the headline act, among others. The festival's person for public relations, Mia Lopez Flynn, didn't downplay the show's significance to the success of a compas act. She called it a '...platform where... bands are tested.' Success or failure to command the compas festival's stage could make or break an act's career.

The aim of the festival is to make Haitian music more mainstream and as popular as other world music forms. It's a goal they are well on their way to reaching, as the festival expected to entertain about 15,000 patrons, half of which were tourists. For its 15th year, the festival's promoters anticipated the huge flush of patriotism hosting the events on such an important day for Haitians would bring. As such, they had designated blue and red as the official show colors.

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Read more: Haitian Music, Miami, Kompa, Music, Festival, Haitian Compas Festival, Bayfront Park, Entertainment

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