Editor’s Letter: An Overlooked Abundance

A couple of months ago, someone posed this question on reddit.com/florida: “Why is Florida’s music industry so weak?” In case you missed the point, they continued, “I don’t think Florida has a very consolidated music scene. It almost feels like folks here are mostly thrilled by novelty and high-energy eccentricity.”

Well, ouch.

We may not be Nashville or LA, but South Florida has a thriving music scene. Iconic musicians reportedly living here at least part-time include Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, PitBull (Mr. 305), Cher, Rick Ross, Barry Gibb, Pharrell Williams and Diddy.

Some of the most famous albums and songs have connections to studios here: James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band,” John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane,” the Bee Gee’s “Saturday Night Fever” (one groove was sparked by the sound of tires going over the causeway), Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Street Survivors,” The Allman Brother’s “Eat a Peach,” Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” Eric Clapton’s “461 Ocean Blvd.” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”

Many of the recordings were done at Criteria Recording Studios, whose Wikipedia page lists nearly 120 famous musicians who have recorded here.

There’s a growing number of music festivals: Rolling Loud, Tortuga, Okeechobee Music Festival, SunFest and Ultra. There are plenty of venues for big arena and stadium acts. There’s a history of storied events—did Jim Morrison really do that at Dinner Key Auditorium?

For many of us, though, the day-to-day pleasure is going to a bar or restaurant and seeing live bands. I can walk into Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach, order a beer and hear a band that transports me back to my youth.

Melanie Geronemus Smit may be Lifestyle’s creative director by day, but she’s an avid band enthusiast at night and on weekends. She deserves credit for conceptualizing this issue’s cover package, ably assisted by freelance writer Michelle Solomon.

South Florida has so much uncelebrated and accessible talent, Mel says. On any given night, you can see any genre you like. “Not everyone can spend a thousand dollars on a ticket to see Taylor Swift. Pricing is insane.”

Going to see musicians perform fills a void in our modern lives.

“Everything is digital now, so there’s often no actual connection between the musicians and their followers and audiences,” Mel says. “It’s an important part of our culture to connect with music and fill our lives with music and it’s important to connect with the people who make the music. Why not celebrate South Florida talent with people doing what they love most and have the talent for?”

Indeed. Take that, Reddit.

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