Decades ago, Miami’s Historic Overtown attracted the most legendary musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and The Impressions. Over the last seven years, the city which was once known as “Miami’s Little Broadway” — in partnership with Headliner Marketing Group — has brought out the best of today’s revered singers to the streets of “The Magic City.” During the 2017 Overtown Music & Arts Festival, they took it to the max with a lineup of all-star performers.
The all-ages crowd felt the wrath of the sun’s vicious rays as thousands of concertgoers roamed the streets of Overtown between the main stage and the Youth Zone sponsored by T.E.E.S (Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success). The kiddies got to play in a bounce house, make their own works of art, and catch vibrant, dance performances at the Youth Zone stage. On the other side of the festival, the grown folks got to enjoy rare sets from a mixture of internationally known artists from various musical backgrounds.
The show was an authentic journey through decades of historic Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, and Latin music. Revered musician Tito Puente, Jr made his return to the main stage along with singer Melina La Muñeca to perform a medley of songs from his late father Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. Reggae legends Inner Circle followed up with a full band behind them to bring classics like “Bad Boys” to life.
Baltimore duo Ruff Endz made their return to Miami after officially reuniting last year. David Chance and Dante Jordan both rocked all-white ensembles as they performed their hits “No More” and “Somebody to Love You.” The throwbacks jams continued as RL of Next performed solo renditions of the group’s classics like “Too Close” and more.
“So Gone” singer Monica arrived on the scene to serve as the host with the most. She got to introduce the remaining acts, and put on a show of her own by performing a capella versions of her classics like “For You I Will” and more.
Afterwards, she brought out Keyshia Cole, who came out dressed for the blazing hot occasion in a vibrant, floral dress and her bright pink adidas sneakers. She sang treasured records like “Love” and “Enough Of No Love” while enticing the crowd with her memorizing dance moves. Her fans roared with cheers when she hit that high note while performing her favorite part on Diddy’s “Last Night.”
Cee-Lo Green had just stepped off a plane from Europe before he arrived to the festival. Although he prepared himself by rocking a Maroon tank top and matching shorts, the heat had the Goodie Mob crooner sweating profusely before he hit the stage. But that didn’t stop him from closing out the show with a bang. Since he made the move from Atlanta to Miami earlier this year, Green was proud to be performing in one of the most cultured areas in the city. He began his set by saluting Miami bass and 2 Live Crew co-founder Fresh Kid Ice. After performing his verse on Trick Daddy’s “In Da Wind,” he moved on to his more popular hits like “It’s Alright” and “Forget You.”
Much like decades ago, the streets of Overtown were overflowing with people in town to see their favorite musicians perform live. The residents were able to unwind and recharge from their everyday struggles as various genres of music filled the air. Meanwhile the outsiders were soaking up the artistic culture of the city in peace, and gave it the love it always deserved.
Watch a quick recap of what went down at Overtown Music & Arts Festival 2017 below.
This article first appeared in VIBE