Updated Nov 15, 2023 - News

Scoop: Miami Beach shutting down South Pointe drum circle

South Pointe Park. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miami Beach is shutting down the weekly drum circle and dance performances at South Pointe Park.

Driving the news: Public notices distributed to the groups on Sunday warn that performances would be banned at the South Beach park beginning Nov. 19.

  • "This includes, but is not limited to, drumming, singing, playing musical instruments, creating loud noises, amplified sounds, creating nuisances, public attractions, etc.," the notice, obtained by Axios Miami, states.

The city will allow the performers to relocate to the 10th Street beach "for the time being," according to the notice.

Why it matters: The public performances at South Pointe Park, which take place every Sunday at sunset, surged in popularity after COVID-19 began, but nearby condo residents have complained about the noise.

What they're saying: City spokesperson Melissa Berthier tells Axios that the performances violate park rules and the city's laws against hosting special events without a permit and making "excessive" noise.

  • "The city has been working with the performers for several months and has provided an alternative location in good faith where performances can continue," Berthier wrote in a statement.

Alyson Herman, president of the nearby Portofino Towers and Portofino/South Pointe Master Association, tells Axios "there should be a balance between public use of the park and the peaceful enjoyment of the homes of neighboring residents."

The other side: David Finkelstein, who was dancing Brazilian Zouk at the park on Sunday, said the city's crackdown feels like it's out of "Footloose," the movie about a town that bans dancing.

  • His group dances to music from a speaker, so they fall under the prohibition against amplified sounds.
  • "What's the purpose of the park if people can't go there and play a speaker, play music, and sit in the park and dance?" he says. "What are parks for?"

What's next: Michael Cantalupo, a Beach resident and arts advocate, says some performers are willing to get cited — or arrested — to peacefully protest the city's actions.

  • He says he has tried to work with the city to find a compromise, like limiting performance hours at the park.
  • "It really feels like a blatant attack on people's rights," he says.

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