Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Sun Sentinel.
It is not unusual this time of year in South Florida, as Spring Breakers flock in, to cross paths with some dazed soul muttering, “Where am I? How did I get here?” Of course, in 2022, that person is just as likely a new transplant from New York or California.
But if ever there were a time for a newcomer to get familiar with South Florida culture and our oddball lifestyle, this weekend is THE weekend, whether you are settling into a new home or just here for a few days of beers and bikinis.
We have 250 models playing volleyball on the beach, edgy food festival Smorgasburg arriving in Wynwood and new nightclubs and lounges making their Spring Break debuts in Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale. We’re getting our traditional early jump on St. Patrick’s Day, the massive Calle Ocho festival returns to Little Havana and ‘80s icons Modern English are opening their tour in West Palm Beach.
This is where you are now. Rejoice.
Song and dance: A three-day camping (optional) festival on an island just off downtown Miami, the Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance returns to historic Virginia Key Beach Park Friday-Sunday. This year’s lineup includes nationally touring folk-rock quintet Donna the Buffalo and a who’s-who list of popular and interesting local bands: Afrobeta, Locos por Juana, Itawe & Pockit, Roosevelt Collier, Electric Kif, Lemon City Trio, Elastic Bond, Matthew Sabatella, Electric Piquette, Oigo, Juke, Cortadito and others. We attract a lot of DJ talent around here, but this is what South Florida sounds like. Single-day tickets start at $25, three-day passes $95. Visit VirginiaKeyGrassRoots.org.
Sounds sublime: Internationally touring vocalist Nicole Henry, who got her start in South Florida (we will remind you repeatedly), has two nights scheduled this weekend at the Arts Garage in downtown Delray Beach. At 8 p.m. Friday she’ll share music from “Time to Love Again,” her first full-length studio album in a decade. On Sunday at 7 p.m. Henry will perform a theatrical concert, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody: The Songs of Whitney Houston.” That’s a match made in heaven. Tickets for each show cost $50-$55. Visit ArtsGarage.org.
You’re in country country
If you’re just in from another state, it may surprise you to learn that we’ve got a country-music kind of vibe going on here, most famously when the Tortuga Music Festival returns to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. The 2022 edition is April 8-10 with headliners Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen and Thomas Rhett, and all three days are sold out. But on May 11, Audacy’s Leading Ladies tour will bring Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Alaina, Morgan Wade and Tenille Arts to Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. Tickets start at $55 and go on sale via Ticketmaster.com at 10 a.m. Friday, or you can jump in on the presale with the password CELEBRATE. Visit MyHRL.com.
The bar is open: The Angeles in Flagler Village has been the hottest nightclub in Fort Lauderdale since it opened three months ago in the former sanctuary of First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Math majors out there may correct me, but Friday night’s $40, three-hour open bar (9:30 p.m.-midnight, tip included) feels like a good deal. Visit Facebook.com/TheAngelesFTL.
Dynamic Delray: Wearing its pink-flamingo kitsch on its sleeve, 12,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor entertainment space Throw Social opened in downtown Delray Beach in December, offering ax-throwing, darts, board games, oversized craft cocktails and gastropub food to the cool kids on bustling Atlantic Avenue. Local DJs and live bands are featured each night, including Project X 7 p.m. Friday and Smokin’ Aces 7 p.m. Saturday. Visit ThrowSocial.com. … One of the prettiest new rooftop lounges in South Florida, the 22,000-square-foot Rosewater Rooftop opened in September at the Ray Hotel in downtown Delray Beach’s arty Pineapple Grove, with cocktails, weekend DJs and a relaxing view of the city (try their Golden Happy Hour 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday). Visit RosewaterDelray.com.
Model behavior: Now in its 12th year, models from top South Florida agencies will gather on South Beach 10 a.m-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for Bang Model Volleyball. Just as it sounds, 250 models will take to the sand at Eighth Street and Ocean Drive to show off their, uh, volleyball skills in a co-ed tournament to support the Angel Watching Over Me Foundation. Enduring TV personality Brody Jenner will DJ at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. You never know who will show up at his event — past VIP guests have included Jamie Foxx, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Scott, Calvin Klein, Dwayne Wade, and models such as Chanel Iman and Nina Agdal. Welcome to South Florida. Admission is free. Visit ModelVolleyball.com.
English lesson: We love our ‘80s in South Florida, so iconic British band Modern English will kick off their 2022 North American tour 8 p.m. Saturday at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach — a wonderfully intimate pairing of music and venue (itself founded in the ‘80s). Modern English will perform the 1982 album “After the Snow” in its entirety — including the classic “I Melt With You” — along with other hits. Tickets cost $25. Visit Facebook.com/respectablestreet.
Green days: While March 17 is known as St. Patrick’s Day, singular, South Florida has always partied in the plural. And we like to start early. So, this Saturday brings the Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival, highlighted by the noon parade along Las Olas Boulevard and the lawn party at downtown’s Huizenga Plaza (Las Olas and Andrews), with Irish dancers and the excellent U2 by UV tribute band. Visit StPatsFTL.com. Also on Saturday, Delray Beach throws its long-running St. Pat’s party on Old School Square (1-7 p.m.) and parade (noon-2 p.m.) on East Atlantic Avenue. Visit StPatsDelray.com.
Food, glorious food: New Yorkers know about Smorgasburg, the weekly gathering of innovative food creatives that proved so popular in Brooklyn’s hip neighborhood of Williamsburg that it spawned a spinoff in Los Angeles. Well, the only Smorgasburg outside metro New York and L.A. will debut 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday in Miami’s buzzy Wynwood district. Smorgasburg Miami is at 2600 NW Second Ave., a half-block north of iconic Wynwood Walls. Admission is free. Visit SmorgasburgMiami.com.
Gardens jams: Each year the Jazz in the Gardens concert series offers a thoughtfully curated lineup of some of the most popular names in R&B, hip-hop and soul music — after two years off its organizers seem to be doubling down. Taking place adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday-Sunday, the 15th edition of JITG will offer a lineup led by Mary J. Blige, H.E.R, Rick Ross, The Roots with special guest T-Pain, the Isley Brothers and SWV. Popular radio personality and comedian Rickey Smiley return as host. Tickets for Jazz in the Gardens, again featuring a village of vendors with an eclectic mix of goods, food and drink, start at $100 per day. Visit JazzInTheGardens.com.
The Weekender – South Florida Events Newsletter
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
FAB farewell: An annual series that helps direct the cultural conversation in South Florida, Festival of the Arts Boca concludes this weekend at Mizner Park Amphitheater with performances by charismatic Americana-pop trio Time for Three at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (tickets start at $25) and Latin Grammy-winning South Florida jazz favorite Nestor Torres with his band 7 p.m. Sunday (tickets start at $40). Visit FestivalBoca.org.
Big in Little Havana: One of South Florida’s defining annual events, the 15-block street party known as Calle Ocho returns to Miami’s Little Havana 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Back after a two-year layoff, the festival will be presented in a condensed version — but perhaps even more enthusiasm. Multiple entertainment stages and vendors will be set up along Little Havana’s iconic Eighth Street between 12th and 27th avenues, with performers including longtime Miami favorite Albita, Tito Puente Jr., Marlon and the King of Miami Carnival 2022, Yotuel Romero, winner of the 2021 Latin Grammy for Best Song with “Patria y Vida.” Admission is free, with VIP access $100. Visit CarnavalMiami.com.
More Irish ayes: Downtown Hollywood will host its popular St. Pat’s parade 1 p.m. Sunday, featuring the New York Police Dept. Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps, and a festival (noon-6 p.m.) of Irish entertainment and performances by Uproot Hootenanny and U2 by UV on a Hollywood Boulevard stage at 19th Avenue. Visit StPatricksParade.com. Do not forget to drop by and do some business at Mickey Byrne’s Irish Pub (1821 Hollywood Blvd.). Save the pubs!