Miami Beach celebrates history, achievements with centennial concert

Event-Poster-11-1000x1545_cThe largest free entertainment event in Miami Beach’s history is happening sandside on Thursday, when the Rising Miami Beach Global Music Festival overtakes Ocean Drive.

It’s all part of the beach’s biggest-ever birthday party. Thursday marks 100 years since Miami Beach’s incorporation in 1915.

Since Sunday, the city has been hosting its 100-hour centennial celebration – from officiating the marriage of 100 couples (same-sex and heterosexual) and naturalizing 100 new American citizens, to hosting a celebrity tennis tournament and putting on a fashion show showcasing 100 years of fashion in Miami Beach.

Headlined by Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees and Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, the free Miami Beach Centennial Concert is expected to turn out a crowd to rival the nearly 120,000 people who showed up to see Luciano Pavarotti in a similar beachside setting 20 years ago, according to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

The lineup also includes contemporary artists like Flo Rida, Wyclef and the Miami Heat’s DJ Irie, who might appeal more to younger audiences.

“They’re performing because they love Miami Beach, and they recognize Miami Beach’s place in entertainment and in history and in culture, and now they recognize Miami Beach’s leadership in bringing awareness about climate change to the world,” Levine said.

On top of that, the music festival will begin with DJs spinning during a daytime beach party.

“We could expect some surprise DJs to show up,” said Levine, acknowledging that the event coincides with Miami Music Week.

Levine is calling it C4 – the Centennial Climate Change Concert – to highlight the challenge of climate change that coastal cities like Miami Beach are facing.

“It’s not only about our previous 100 years,” he said. “It’s really looking toward the future – the next 100 years on Miami Beach, and the great challenge, and the challenge of this generation, which is climate change and sea level rise.”

In his first year as mayor, Levine worked to attack the flooding problem that Miami Beach is infamous for – especially during periods of king tides, or the highest tides – by installing pump stations and one-way flex valves across the city.

The concert will be followed by a climate change conference entitled “Community Resiliency Summit: Miami Beach Rising Above,” featuring weatherman Al Roker, as well as leading scientists, educators, politicians and NGOs. It will be held Friday at the W South Beach hotel.