Lauderdale Live, the ambitious three-day music festival that debuted in downtown Fort Lauderdale in 2013, is returning.
In its inaugural sailing into South Florida last December, the live-music startup was not lacking in, let us say, testicular fortitude.
Setting itself smack in the middle of downtown, in a city still getting used to the idea of hosting a major music event -- Kenny Chesney had headlined the first Tortuga Music Festival on the beach that April -- Lauderdale Live went even further in booking acts that excited even your most indie of friends.
Along with proven ticket-sellers such as Lyle Lovett, Huey Lewis, Robert Randolph and the Indigo Girls, there was the sublime Shovels & Rope, former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell, the Wild Feathers and Holly Williams, plus an assortment of lesser-known acts that contributed a sprinkling of serendipity.
That audiences for the shows at Huizenga Plaza were so sparse is a crime we are still living down. Some blamed the breezy weather. Others cited competition from the beefed-up musical offerings that weekend at Art Basel. None of it seemed to make sense.
Lauderdale Live organizers are undeterred: The second edition of the festival will again take place on the New River (the Friday yacht concerts are expected to return), but on the opposite end of the calendar from Art Basel, June 19-21, Father’s Day weekend.
There’s also a new sponsor, West Palm Beach-based AEG Live SE, a company that has its hands in a diverse list of music festivals, including SunFest, Coachella and the New Orleans Jazz Fest. AEG Live joins co-sponsors at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau’s office of Film, Music and Entertainment and Donahue Entertainment. CEO Don Donahue, based in Nashville, created the first Lauderdale Live.
“Partnering with AEG, in West Palm Beach, is critical. They know the market,” Donahue said.
No word yet on the entertainment lineup.
The festival joins the Tortuga Music Festival and the recently announced CBGB Festival Fort Lauderdale (date TBD) on the city’s 2015 live-music schedule.