The only thing lacking in the rich parade of live music that will roll across multiple outdoor stages in South Florida this weekend is the catchy, T-shirt-ready name that would put it in the conversation with well-known festivals from Austin to Los Angeles.
Consider that in the next three days, on five stages, we will host evolving rock star Zac Brown, local SXSW veterans Surfer Blood, beach poets Kenny Chesney and Jake Owen, provocative Chilean hip-hop performer Ana Tijoux, Southern-fried rapper Colt Ford, New York Afro-soul provocateurs the Budos Band, country chart-toppers Little Big Town and the Band Perry, Colombian cumbia modernizers Puerto Candelaria, re-energized country-rock vets the Mavericks, indie eclectics Wild Belle, ska-punkers Sublime With Rome, honky-tonker Trace Adkins and young country renegade Nikki Lane, to name fewer than half the acts.
But what to call this wealth of live music? SoFloachella? Flalapalooza? SXSF? Right now, we’re leaning toward Burning Mango.
Brown, Chesney and the country acts will, of course, be on three stages Saturday and Sunday at the Tortuga Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale beach, now an established annual gathering guaranteed for good music paired with an admirable ocean-conservation theme (TortugaMusicFestival.com). They’ve replaced Landshark with Corona Light, so there’s that.
At the North Beach Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) on Friday and Saturday, the 13th annual Rhythm Foundation-sponsored Heineken TransAtlantic Festival offers another invigorating lineup of sweat-inducing acts, including the Budos Band, Puerto Candelaria and local indie-pop experimentalists My Deer on Friday, and Ana Tijoux (“South America’s answer to Lauryn Hill,” the New York Times blurbed), Wild Belle and trippy local mood enhancers Bluejay on Saturday. Music starts at 6 p.m. each day. Tickets: $15 per day, $27 for two-day pass. Info: RhythmFoundation.com.
But perhaps the weekend musical experience most rewarding to your soul is the Surfers for Autism Beach Festival, which returns for its eighth annual edition Friday-Sunday on the south side of the Deerfield Beach Pier (149 SE 21st Ave.).
Led by Surfer Blood, the indie-rock band whose acclaim long ago outgrew its West Palm Beach home, the free festival offers music and food trucks on Friday and Saturday. The first-day music lineup is Steel Margarita (5-5:30 p.m.), Buddy Sparrow (6-7 p.m.), Time With Tom (7:30-8:15 p.m.) and Surfer Blood (9-10 p.m.). Reggae and roots take over on Saturday, with Roots Shakedown (6-7 p.m.), ARTIKaL Sound System (7:30-8:30 p.m.) and Bushwood (9-10 p.m.).
Between the concerts, during the day on Saturday, volunteers with Surfers for Autism will give 200 kids from all over the country with developmental delays a few stigma-free hours communing with the sea (an afternoon that volunteers and parents describe as magical and highly emotional). Raffles and T-shirt sales help support the cause.
Dave Rossman, one of an army of volunteer instructors at Surfers for Autism events in Deerfield Beach for the past seven years, believes he may get as much joy out of it as the kids do.
“When you’re catching a wave going in and you see Mom or Dad , or Grandma, or all of the above, taking photos, with ear-to-ear grins, and tears that follow shortly thereafter. ... You’re having an impact on the whole family,” says Rossman, also a volunteer in a surfing program run by Special Olympics Palm Beach County.
The children learning to surf come from all over the austim spectrum. Some adapt to water quickly, others take more time. The volunteers – some in their teens, some who travel from other states – are a patient bunch, says Rossman, recalling a child he worked with who had profound sensory issues.
“Sometimes just the sand on their feet can be too much to handle, so surfing wasn’t even a possibility,” Rossman says. “But then to see the progression, over the years, to where now you see this kid come to the beach fully stoked, barefoot, running down to the ocean and surfing just like any other kid out there, is just unbelievable.”
So to recap: cool crowd, great music, better cause, food trucks, free admission. This is your place. Info: Facebook.com/SurfersForAutism.
In his 2011 memoir, “Lucking Out,” James Wolcott, a longtime cultural observer for Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, wrote about his introduction to the Lower East Side punk petri dish that would become his home away from home:
“Shortly after entering below the awning of a bar and club with an initialed name, a place I’d never been to on a street that still looked like a Robert Frank photograph of raw, spilling night, I gingerly installed myself for a bar-stool view of the stage, which was stationed left of the aisle and barely large enough for a barbershop quartet. The atmosphere was most unmagical, worthy of a cheap paperback set on skid row. It had a palpable texture, this prosy ambience, a bit of World War I trench-warfare leftover aroma of dung, urine and damp carcass, but it was the ’70s and not a time to be picky. Then I saw this visage, this vision, shark-finning the length of the bar, and I knew this had to be Her.”
This was Wolcott seeing rock icon Patti Smith for the first time at CBGB, the legendary New York dive that is now, magically, a John Varvatos store. Varvatos recently became a business partner of Zac Brown, providing a new fashionable look for the country-rock star, appearing Sunday at the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale. Wolcott will be just up the coast, appearing at the inaugural Palm Beach Book Festival on Saturday at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, along with the likes of Joe Klein, Alan Cumming, James Patterson, Linda Fairstein and James Grippando. Info: PalmBeachBookFestival.com.
YOUR WEEKEND MOVIE
In her review of Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo’s powerful girl-and-her-dog parable “White God,” New York Times critic Manohla Dargis traces its source material to the J.M. Coetzee novel “Disgrace,” in which one character, who works at a shelter where dogs are euthanized, says, “They do us the honor of treating us like gods, and we respond by treating them like things.” In its vividly drawn animal characters, Dargis compares “White God” to classics such as “Black Beauty” and “The Call of the Wild,” but this R-rated journey is no children’s story, but rather a “revenge fantasy” from the dog’s point of view, and “like nothing you’ve seen on screen before.” “White God” (watch the trailer here) opens Friday at Cinema Paradiso Hollywood (954-525-3456, FLIFF.com), the AMC Aventura 24 (305-466-9880), the Lake Worth Playhouse (561-586-6410, LakeWorthPlayhouse.org) and Miami Beach Cinematheque (305-673-4567, MBCinema.com).
WORDS & MUSIC
Bailey Contemporary Arts in Pompano Beach has a couple of major free events coming. At 1 p.m. Sunday, a family-friendly street party will celebrate Louder Than a Bomb, the nationwide youth poetry program brought to Broward County with help from the Jason Taylor Foundation and the Omari Hardwick Bluapple Poetry Network. Along with music, food trucks and other diversions, Louder Than a Bomb coaches will battle it out poetry-slam style. From 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 18, BaCA will celebrate its first anniversary at the Earth Day Birthday Bash, a free outdoor festival that will include the infectious grooves of Miami’s Spam Allstars. Info: BaCAPompano.org.
YOUR WEEKEND BEER
Inexplicably, there are tickets available for the third annual Brew at the Zoo, the craft-beer festival on Saturday at the Palm Beach Zoo, a sell-out its first two years. Entry to the festival, which includes sampling from more than 25 craft breweries, live music and food, is $35. The $65 VIP are all gone. Info: PalmBeachZoo.org/brew.
At presstime, a few seats were available for Dave Chappelle’s third performance under the South Beach Comedy Festival flag at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Fillmore Miami Beach. Same goes for the two Bill Burr shows on Friday (8 and 10:30 p.m.) and Hannibal Buress 8 p.m. Saturday. Info: SouthBeachComedyFestival.com.
HAPPY HOUR OF THE WEEK
Madonna is opening her Rebel Heart tour with Aug. 29-30 shows in Miami for a reason: She is loved extra hard here (and you’ve no doubt seen this video Madonna just put out for “Ghosttown,” with Terrence Howard). To get the vibe going early, Perez Art Museum Miami has booked Jellybean Benitez, the Studio 54 DJ who turned her early songs into club hits, to spin 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 16. Along with dancing to “Borderline” and “Lucky Star,” PAMM’s East Portico will be home to happy-hour-priced drinks and food, and a social-media-based scavenger hunt, with prizes. Museum admission is $16. Info: PAMM.org.
MAI KAI, YOUR KAI
Word has it that the Food Network was at Fort Lauderdale’s Mai Kai this week shooting for an upcoming episode, the enduring affection for tiki culture something that crosses cultural and geographic boundaries. Also this week, the general-interest Orbitz travel site posted its list of “America’s best old-school tiki bars,” of course including the Mai Kai, right behind the Sip ‘N Dip Mermaid Bar and Tiki Lounge in Great Falls, Mont. As the post acknowledged, “While the following classic, original tiki bars from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s are in no immediate danger, be sure to visit them soon — they could disappear faster than your last Blue Hawaiian.” To fully immerse yourself in the Mai Kai, consider the annual Hukilau, a June 10-14 celebration of the music, fashion, drinks and history of Polynesian-inspired tiki culture. Typical of the irreverent vibe of the event this year is the Three Hour Tour on the Intracoastal with special guest Dawn Wells, Mary Ann of “Gilligan’s Island.” Tickets, info: TheHukilau.com.
Reminder: Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for the End of Times tour bringing the Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson to Miami’s Bayfront Park Amphitheatre on July 22. Prices are $75.25-$85.25 at LiveNation.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.
JOY DIVISION REVISITED
Peter Hook and the Light, led by the Joy Division bassist, will perform that band’s two seminal albums, “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer,” in their entirety at Grand Central (697 N. Miami Ave., Miami) on Friday, April 17, in a performance that kicks off a 10-city U.S. tour. An opening set will be dedicated to music from Hook’s other well-known band, New Order. Tickets: $25. Info: GrandCentralMiami.com.
The Miami-bred Lee Boys’ sacred-steel guitarist is the namesake of the inaugural Roosevelt Collier South Florida GetDown, a two-day affair at the Funky Biscuit (303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton) this weekend that unites Collier with accomplished friends Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band), brother Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Anthony Cole (JJ Grey and Mofro). Performances are 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. Info: 561-395-2929, FunkyBiscuit.com.