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Miami Heat: Snarky Puppy’s GroundUP Music Festival

Jazz, Latin, R&B, rock, folk and everything in between

Michael League (photo by Stella K)
Michael League (photo by Stella K)
David Crosby at 2017 GroundUP Music Festival (photo by Stella K)
David Crosby (photo by Stella K)
Terrence Blanchard (photo by Stella K)
Esperanza Spalding at 2017 GroundUP Music Festival (photo by Stella K)
Esperanza Spalding (photo by Stella K)

Devise an infectious, mostly instrumental sound incorporating jazz and other styles, played by an oversized but agile ensemble often numbering nearly a dozen accomplished players. Collaborate on critically acclaimed recordings with guest singers, lately including a revered folk-rocker who played Woodstock. Tour relentlessly all over the world, generating wild enthusiasm at clubs, concert halls and festivals. Amass a loyal cult following that threatens to explode into something even larger. Pick up several Grammy Awards, including a freshly minted one for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album (for Culcha Vulcha).

What else is on Snarky Puppy’s to-do list? How about launching an ambitious fest of its own, where the group headlines three consecutive nights and provides a showcase for acts featuring the band’s revolving cast of musicians and other high-caliber artists, representing a rangy mix of genres? That’s exactly what Michael League, the bassist, composer, arranger and chief musical architect for the Brooklyn-based, Texas-born band did in creating the inaugural GroundUP Music Festival. The fest, held Feb. 10-12 on a gorgeously sunny weekend at the historic North Beach Bandshell and adjacent Palm Grove Park in Miami Beach, was created in conjunction with Snarky Puppy’s label, GroundUP Music, Miami’s Rhythm Foundation and the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, among other South Florida partners.

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