Palm trees sunshine and a bunch of buildings all compact together in the center of the city. A small futuristic-looking zip car connected to tracks above the city. Yachts and jet skiis. And for the weekend, every single artist you've ever listened to on soundcloud. Oh, and 40,000 people.
This is what we knew as Rolling Loud. A weekend in Miami where we didn't even have the energy to go to the club and the natural vibes were so fun that drinking wasn't even in the option book. A weekend of pure sober fun jumping to the beat with forty thousand people around us, surrounded by palm trees, downtown Miami Florida.
Like look at that lineup. How in the world could you pass that up?
So for the first time, we touched down in Miami Florida.
Well, I did at first. The way things unfolded was really unique and made for one of those weekends I'll never be able to repeat ever again.
Background: when I went to LA in January to stay with Brandon we ended up going to Tyler, The Creator's live documentary screening of the Cherry Bomb film he made. Brandon said he had this friend who had two extra tickets, so the three of us went together. That's where I met Diego for the first time. After the screening he told us he had three tickets to rolling loud, and I think I flew home the next day and booked my flight to Miami.
So Wednesday ended, I passed in my schoolwork, and I packed my bag. Bright and early at seven in the morning on thursday i got the uber to the airport and landed in Miami a few hours later.
I didn't know where I was going to stay or who I was going to see, I was just
a) hoping Diego would land sometime that day with the tickets
b) people would reply to my "Who In Miami" instagram story.
And they did. A bunch of my friends from home were there and they had some nice hotel right downtown so I got off the plane and ubered to them. We swam for the day and walked around.
It was crazy. Being in a new place. That's still my favorite thing ever. There's nothing better than experiencing something for the first time. And in this moment, Miami was our something.
My friend Ian from new york ended up calling me, he was in Miami too. He shoots for Complex so he was there covering the concert for the weekend. He had been to Miami a few times before so he knew all of the city. Him and I went around for a few hours and just explored. I'll never forget the one phrase he kept repeating
"Miami is a mini Dubai"
And it completely is. It's one big mini Dubai. And it's beautiful. And everyone drives nice cars. And it's compact. And the buildings are beautiful. And the atmosphere was nice. And we were so happy.
The coolest part of the city is this little zip car thing that flies across the city high up. It's some free transportation thing that Miami has and it's a little car thing that goes around the entire city. Ian took me from stop to stop and showed me all the different areas.
We took some photos, went around, found some people, went to some houses. Around sunset I hungout with my friends from home again and we went to some place on South Beach called The Versace Mansion for dinner.
Listen to this. We pull up and I'm with three really pretty girls we're all looking nice they're wearing dresses, I have some nice longsleeve button down shirt on with my headband on and some white gucci sunglasses, and they tell me I can't eat there because I don't have pants on.
So what do I do? Walk a few blocks to Prada. Go in. Buy a (incredibly overpriced) pair of pants. Eat dinner. Enjoy the place. Leave dinner. Go back to Prada. Return them. Carry on with my night.
We ended up back at the hotel and it was like 10pm and Diego texted me "Just landed, send your location". I was like oh lit we have concert tickets, so i dropped my pin and fifteen minutes later he walked through the door.
He ended up getting another hotel room for the weekend so we had our own place to chill out and not have to worry about staying with my friends from Boston. So we had a home base now.
That's huge when traveling. Having a secure home base. That's something I don't always have. Most times because it changes every night or something but for once we had a central location right downtown, near the venue.
We ended up just walking around the city all night and checking it out. It was this beautiful new land to us that we had only seen in the movies with the boats and the girls and the drugs. You know, Miami. I took all of these on my point and shoot, i hope they allow you to put an image to the story a bit.
It was 8am on friday and one of my best friends from college called me. She said she had just landed and she wanted to drop her bags somewhere. Basically, I had planned to go to the festival alone. Diego planned to go alone. Nina planned to go alone. Didn't hurt to pick someone up on the team, so we invited her to stay with us for the weekend. She came and our first day came to a start.
We explored a bit then we went to the festival. It was only a few minute walk from where we were staying, which blew my mind because I was thinking ok how are 40,000 people going to all fit into one park. But they did. And it was crazy.
My New York friend Mia was also there with her firends, but she was just kind of there with some people who were also going to Miami and wanted to split a hotel room. So she was there by herself too. So we all got together and went to the festival.
We walked into the festival and at first I was like "holy shit there's a lot of people here I'm not going to know anyone" and then I turned around and my second thought was "HOLY SHIT YO I GRADUATED HIGHSCHOOL WITH HIS KID".
I went over and dapped my friend up. This kid named Isaac lived in my town then moved to Miami for a bunch of years then came back to graduate with us. He still lives in Massachusetts but he was there alone for the festival.
"You alone?" I asked. "Yeah, are you?" He asked me back.
Looking back at our new team of lone soliders, I was like "we're just as alone as you. You're with us now". And Isaac joined our new family.
The festival was crazy and everyone played. I'm not going to go through everyone that performed but if you've ever been to a music festival you know what it's like to run from one stage to the next. And if you don't, imagine a very calm stampede. With so many artists and so many people, they split things into two stages. Each stage is on the opposite side of the festival. So once one artist finishes, if you want to see the performance on the other stage (along with every other person that also does) you have to jump in the flow of people and make it to the other stage in one piece.
As the sunset the music played and echoed throughout the city. The palm trees swayed in the wind and the people kept singing. We walked from stage to stage and hoped we wouldn't lose anyone. As the night came, people could either see Rocky on one stage or Lil Wayne. It wasn't a hard decision for us. People started getting creative, climbing in trees to get good views and standing on anything they could. A$AP ended the night with a hour long set, playing just about every song ever, then bringing X and Yachty out. It was just one big mob. All infront of 40,000 people right in the middle of Miami. The entire city surrounded us. And everyone just jumped in unison to the music.
Saturday wasn't much different. We moved from stage to stage and enjoyed artist after artist.
Oh, so I have this internet friend named Max. He had these old really iconic supreme meme photos so Serafina and I wanted to become his friend then one day he ended up ordering some stuff from this website and I would hit him up just saying hi from time to time. We talked for months and he's from Vermont then moved out to LA to work for some agency. Him and his agency people were at the venue so I was pumped to finally meet him in real life. I was walking to go find him and some Palace-wearing VHS Camera-holding kids came up to me and dapped me up and they were like 'OHKAYCHRIS ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS' then rattled off interview questions really fast. I was like wait here i'll be right back. I got Max, met him for the first time, and brough him back to the kids. We answered some joking quetions for their videocamera and became friends with them. They said they followed me on instagram and "knew they'd find me here".
Turns out they're just the random sixteen year old streetwear kids of Miami. So we all became friends. And they all joined our newly created gang.
As the night was ending, a friend of mine who had backstage access was leaving so he gave me his band, and Max had all access with his agency so him and I just walked around backstage.
It was really cool, like Rocky walked right by us and was like "wassup killas" and I gave the head nod but deep down inside i was like shit that was fire. Everyone was just cool with everyone. Ian and Carti were walking around eating hotdogs and Yachty was doing cartwheels. He can't really do cartwheels. But it was funny to see all of it. I got to see Kendrick perform DAMN from the back of the stage. Never did I expect to be standing on the same stage as Kendrick, but that's what Miami is for I guess. I didn't get any good photos sadly but I got this good one of Thug from the side of the stage when he performed. Sadly I only had my Point and Shoot and it kept dying on me.
The night ended and the fireworks went off. We found the 16 year old gremlins again and we all linked back at the hotel. We got food and walked around for a few hours. It was pure sober fun. And it was amazing.
Every night we would hangout on these couches outside our hotel. We would hangout with these kids from Atlanta and Texas. So many people in our hotel were there for RL, so we had new familiar face friends. We would go out there at like 1:30 and hangout with them until we realized each night it was 4:30am and we needed to sleep to get energy for the next day.
It's kind of rare that I make new friends. And making new friends is so cool. We were all there because we liked brands and music and rap and festivals and these kids were from Atlanta and they told us all about growing up alllll around rap and we told them what it's like to be from where we're from. Everyone had different stories. Everyone came up different ways, but we were all there in that moment and that was all that mattered.
Sunday went to the same way. We enjoyed from afar. We didn't mosh much because our bodies were getting drained. Between the sun, lack of sleep, lack of good meals, and over-excitement, we could feel our bodies crumbling bit by bit. But that's half the fun in music festivals.
It was a pretty day. Not a cloud in sight. We had our entire gang.
It was still Me, Diego, Nina, Mia, Isaac, Max now too, and our little gremlins Andrea and Mateo.
We all jammed out to the music and I think Playboi Carti played Magnolia 6 times during his set. But did you expect anything else? I didn't.
Post Malone played a beautiful set ( I love Post Malone ) and part of me was like wow I wish Serafina was here but the rest of me was like wow this is so beautiful I'm having the time of my life.
We all sang together and danced in the grass, thousands of people apart from the stage and the performances but mentally a foot away from the rhythm.
Travis Scott ended the festival with an hour long set, flying from the on-stage bird to the top of the hands of the people in the crowd. It was crazy. And it ended our time wonderfully.
We all walked around the city for a few hours and reminisced on the weekend.
Isaac thanked us for taking him into our group, but we had to thank him even more for joining.
We talked about something that I definitely want to make an entire blog about, but it's the idea of floaters and leeches.
Each of us are floaters. There were times when we were like "ok, you want to go to this stage and I want to go to the other stage. We'll break up, go see whoever, and meet back here in 45 minutes" and all would be good.
Each and every one of us were compatable with this. We knew how to have fun by ourselves. We knew how to make the best of the moments we were in. We knew not to freak out when we couldn't find our friends and we knew that it's important to communicate and find one another when it's time to link back up.
Like Isaac told us a story about how he crowd surfed through the pit at XXXTentacion and when they put him down he turned around and was right infront of Nina. Crazy, huh!
But we were all people who knew what it was like to have fun alone, so when we all came together it was so fun. We talked about how the experience wouldn't have been possible with kids who leech onto anyone. But that's what made it perfect.
Nina thanked us for keeping her alive and I thanked Diego for taking care of all of us.
"This is one of those experiences that we'll never be able to replicate"
Max had told us their plan to rent a big yacht on Monday and just boat around the entire day. They were staying in the suite at the Four Seasons. It wasn't much trouble to move my flight, so I thought long and hard
"would tomorrow be more fun in Quantum Physics Lab..... or on a Yacht in Miami".
It was a long and hard thought.
I'm kidding. I emailed my professor and told him that I had gotten a bug and I wouldn't be making it to lab.
So it went from our last night to another night we had to enjoy the city. And we did.