Anyone who has been known that Art Basel Miami is NOT to be missed. Taking place once a year with most of the festivities going down from Thursday December 7 to Sunday December 10th (though various events and shows start days before and go on a few days after) Art Basel is the place to be for artists, musicians, and any creatives in the art, music, and fashion world.
From the different art shows, gallery openings, parties, after parties, and the amazing Miami weather, this years Basel really was a vibe. With the crazy party schedule, I tried to make it to as many events as possible from Thursday night to Saturday night, in a weekend that I can only describe as hectic in all the best ways. Peep the highlights below:
With my flight coming in late Thursday night, I only made it to two events, but both were definitely memorable.
My first stop on Thursday was Mana, a huge raw event space with a sound stage in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Art District for the “Dial Up” party sponsored by Beats by Dre. Called “1-855-7-DIAL UP” because you’re supposed to call the number to RSVP. The party featured sounds by Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, Pizza Boys, Pedro, and Square Biz, with a live performance by Pierre Bourne. The crowd was feeling all the DJ sets, but the highlight was definitely Jaden Smith’s surprise performance. His energy was unmatched for a performance of “Icon” which got the crowd crazy hype.
Next stop was South Beach, where we went to the Nautilus SIXTY Hotel for the Up & Down x Hypebeast 100 official Afterparty. The star studded event featured music by Virgil Abloh, who we had just caught at Dial Up, Heron Preston, and Tremaine Emory & Acyde of No Vacancy Inn. Highlights included: Playboi Carti performing live while partying on the beach, a very rare Frank Ocean sighting, and seeing so many people rocking fur coats in 80+ degree weather.
Music really defined Friday night, which was full of stacked lineups, incredible DJ sets, and unforgettable live performances.
The first stop was in Wynwood for day two of the Bacardi No Commission party, a three day event series curated by Swizz Beatz. This year Bacardi USA teamed up with The Dean Collection, turning the massive Soho Studios into an impressive event space with multiple open bars, amazing art installations in the front, an outdoor area with food trucks, and a huge stage. Friday’s lineup featured DJ Runna, DJ Puffy, Stone Love, Chronixx, Swizz Beatz, and Busta Rhymes. Highlights were definitely the legendary lineup, unlimited alcohol (shoutout to the Bacardi team for the top notch cocktail list), and the fact that it was all free – it was so lit we stayed till the party ended.
Next was the Knowledge Wave party at Side Bar Miami, a collab between Alamo Records, Know Wave, Electric Circus, and Chillin Island. The roster was next-level, with A-trak, Wifisfuneral, Venus X, Smokepurpp, Siobhan Bell, Comethazine, and Ian Isaiah, to name a few. With a mix of of established and emerging talent and with a guestlist open to the public, it brought a huge crowd and lots of familiar faces from NYC. The best way to summarize the vibe of the dope event collab is to peep the video recap on Dazed.
After Knowledge Wave I stopped by 1 Hotel in South Beach to check out A-trak’s DJ set, which as per usual did not disappoint. Unlike most Basel events so far, the party was really intimate, with a small number of attendees on the hotel rooftop.
Given the late start on Thursday I knew I had to squeeze one more party in (besides, the party never ends at Basel), and made my way back to Wynwood for the Grey Zone party at Coyo Taco, presented by United Masters and High Times. In the venue in the back room of a Taco spot, the party featured sets by Brenmar, Falcons, DJ Sliink, Coco & Breezy, and a live performance by Velous. The place was packed, the sets were on point, and even at 4am the crowds energy had not died.
I started my Saturday night back at Soho Studios for the final night of Bacardi No Commission. When we got there the lines for General Admission were wrapped around at least 2 full blocks, and even the VIP was crowded. Clearly people had gotten word of how great the previous nights were. DJ Addy spun the first set, followed by DJ Runna, and then an amazing performance by 2Chainz, who did a little bit of everything, from earlier classics like “Birthday Song” to newer material from Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. Next up was Lil Wayne, which had me – and everyone else in the crowd – fangirling and singing along to every song. Swizz Beatz came up and performed next, and to top it off, A$AP Rocky and DJ Khaled came through for a surprise performance. Hands down one of the best events at Basel, shoutout to Swizz Beatz and the Bacardi team for another successful party!
After No Commission we hopped over to Mana, just a few blocks away, for the Wu-Tang Clan concert presented by III Points and Like Minded, as part of their fifth annual Art Basel Concert Series. As a born and raised New Yorker, you already know I was hype. The stage was was set up to look like the 36 Chambers, and all of the group’s current members the RZA, the GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killa, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, U-God, and Cappadonna, came through one by one, performing hits from their legendary debut album like “Bring da Ruckus” and solo material like Raekwon’s “Ice Cream” and GZA’s “Liquid Swords”. If anyone was skeptical, seeing the place packed with around 5,000 people would convince them that Wu-Tang really is forever.
Last stop was the Do Over presented by Adidas Originals. If you’ve ever been to one of these parties in NYC or LA, you know that the music is always on point. This time music was provided by Waldorules, Maurice Fulton, DJ Spinn, Mixedbyali, and a live performance by Sister Nancy. We danced till we literally couldn’t dance anymore, and after three nights of nonstop parties, this was the perfect end to the busy weekend.
If you missed out this time, just know there’s always next year. Art Basel Miami definitely did not disappoint – catch you in 2018.