South Florida Outlook 2022
A look at the problem South Florida will face in real estate, technology, schools, Latin America and the Caribbean, major events, sports, courts and politics over the coming year.
In the minds of event planners and fans alike, 2022 was meant to be the year Miami was back to normal.
After all, as cases of COVID waned, fall events returned in 2021. In October, the Miami Carnival became the first carnival in North America to return after the pandemic. The Miami Book Fair returned to Miami Dade College with in-person events and a street fair. Miami Art Week saw the return of the mighty Art Basel and its many satellite shows, and small theater companies like Miami New Drama and GableStage brought the drama to dark, empty stages.
The entertainment scene in Miami, it seemed, was returning to normal.
Now, however, the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has returned and organizers have watched and waited.
“In March 2020, when we had to shut everything down, it was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do,” said Johann Zietsman, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. “But we find that reopening is more difficult. The reopening is filled with uncertainty and unpredictability. We were constantly hesitant. Is that going to change next week? Is that going to change next month?
As COVID cases increase, these are important questions. The Arsht, which has survived the pandemic with small outdoor pop-ups or social-distancing events like the 3D digital show “Lasting Impressions,” is set to open its popular Broadway series in Miami on December 28 with the comedy upbeat musical “Hairspray”.
Zietsman said Arsht’s management team are closely monitoring what is happening with the virus and being briefed on COVID protocols through a medical contact from Florida International University. Programming has been difficult: Changing show and concert bookings placed a huge burden on the programming team (who “deserve a medal,” Zietsman said).
But despite what Zietsman said are effective protocols, the theater and the like are at the mercy of the health of the traveling companies. Broadway shows have been closed due to cast members testing positive; even the Radio City Rockettes had to shut down Christmas shows due to the COVID outbreak.
Outdoor events face similar problems, said Monty Trainer, president of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. The annual festival received around 20% fewer artist submissions than usual, he said. Suddenly, there will be 280 artists in 2022 instead of the usual 350.
“We assured the artists that we were alive and viable,” he said. “Most of them come, but there was a group that was very reluctant to make that commitment. “
Other event coordinators are waiting to see what happens next. The Miami-Dade County Fair, which moved its fair from 2021 to November but plans to return in March 2022, said organizers will monitor COVID updates and decide protocols closer to March. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which has pushed back its 2021 gathering from February to May in order to allow attendees to get vaccinated, is confident in its ability to pivot should an adjustment become necessary.
“The safety and comfort of our staff, talents, sponsors, volunteers and guests will always be our # 1 priority,” said Lee Schrager, senior vice president, communications and social responsibility at business at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “We learned a lot from our 2021 Festival in May, and in 2022, we will continue to put our COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place. We are ready and able to adjust our plans as needed as the situation evolves. “
Zietsman, meanwhile, is hoping for the best for the Arsht Center schedule.
“We are optimistic,” Zietsman said, “and we are watching. We hope this won’t impact negatively.
Here are some of the events scheduled for early 2022; All dates are subject to change :
Broadway series in Miami, From December 28: The Arsht Series, which also includes “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” has shows throughout 2022. The Arsht also hosts other arts events and concerts in its three theaters .
Wynwood Art, February 17-21: The art exhibit, a mainstay of the President’s Day weekend, is scheduled to open in February at 1 Herald Plaza in downtown Miami.
Coconut Grove Art Festival, February 19-21: The latest iteration of one of Miami’s favorite events will have fewer artists this year, but has added a culinary battle of chefs and artists painting live murals.
South Beach Food and Wine Festival, February 24-27: In 2021, the event took place in May after being postponed to coincide with vaccine availability. In 2022, it returns to its original time slot at the end of February.
Yeszz in the gardens, March 12-13: The 15th Annual Jazz and R&B Show to be held at Hard Rock Stadium will feature Mary J. Blige, HER, Rick Ross, the Isley Brothers and more.
Ocho Street, March 13: The huge annual celebration takes place outdoors, but a lively and robust crowd makes social distancing difficult.
Miami-Dade County Fair, March 17-April 10: You can’t imagine things. The fair was right there in November, postponed from March 2021. In 2022, organizers plan to put it back in its rightful place in the calendar (spring break week in Miami-Dade County).
Ultra Music Festival, March 25-27: The electronic music festival returns to its original location in downtown Miami.
This story was originally published December 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm.