Miami’s House of Creatives Music and Arts Festival and the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival may be separated by 140 miles and tens of thousands of attendees, but the two music festivals seem to share a similar ideology: the goal is to create a party, a haven where people can come together and comfortably enjoy music, art and nature.
Held in Miami’s Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, and now in its third year, House of Creatives has established itself as a unique event within South Florida’s music festival circuit. HoC is smaller and less EDM-centric than nearby Ultra, easier to navigate and more condensed than West Palm Beach’s SunFest, and decidedly more urban than the massive Okeechobee Festival while sacrificing little of its charm.
Within just a few minutes of entering the small festival grounds, the intention of HoC came into focus: to capture the feel of a major camping festival in a smaller, more accessible and streamlined package. The influence of camping festivals was evident in the many elements borrowed from them: vendors under tents peddling custom flannels and handmade sunglasses, small nooks tucked away within the trees adorned with couches and vintage-style filament lights, art installations peppering the grounds. The festival even included a small waterfront beach stage where DJs performed throughout the event, which attracted many of the attendees for the duration of the night.
HoC also boasted a solid selection of food trucks, and bars and bathrooms that never required a wait of more than a moment or two, mostly due to the comfortably low number of people in attendance.
In terms of its lineup, HoC has followed a similar formula throughout its first three years: a mix of big-name indie artists alongside little-known DJs to keep the night’s momentum churning after the headlining act. The Flaming Lips, Alt-J and MGMT have headlined the developing fest in past iterations, and this year, the event’s soundtrack included Tame Impala offshoot Pond, burgeoning duo SOFI TUKKER, electro-funk mainstay Chromeo, and headliner Foster the People, an act that has performed so often recently in South Florida the group might as well buy a vacation home here.
Though the main stage schedule was running consistently late throughout the evening, nobody really seemed to mind: The small crowd made great sightlines easy to attain from almost any position, and what’s the difference in waiting an extra 20 minutes when the party doesn’t stop until 3 in the morning?
It remains to be seen whether House of Creatives is going to survive in an oversaturated market for these types of events. The grounds didn’t seem to be anywhere near capacity on Saturday, the one day I attended, and even Foster the People’s headlining set attracted a crowd small enough that it didn’t reach the sound tent facing the stage. Even three years into its run on Virginia Key, House of Creatives seems to remain a well-kept secret within South Florida’s music scene, despite the fact that it’s delivering on its promise to “create a haven for music, art and positivity.”