There’s just over a week to go until the inaugural North Beach Music Festival and today organizers rolled out the schedule. The two-day event will be held at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach, Florida next Friday, December 10 and Saturday, December 11.
A second stage is located adjacent to the North Beach Bandshell as music will be going throughout each day. Friday’s action includes performances from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Karina Rykman, The Motet, Electric Kif, TAUK, Tand and The Heavy Pets. The Motet will be joined by special guests Jennifer Hartswick, Shira Elias and Jason Hann.
Spafford wraps up the main stage action on Saturday with an All-Improv set followed by a Spafford & Friends performance. The quartet’s guests are Eric Krasno, Marco Benevento, Nate Werth, Alric “AC” Carter and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. Krasno & The Assembly, Benevento, Niederauer, Aqueous, Ghost-Note, Brendan Bayliss & Jennifer Hartswick, Holly Bowling and Juke are also aboard for the final day of the festival.
For the Spafford & Friends’ set, the band “picked the musicians that inspire us the most at this moment,” as their guests according to drummer Nick Tkachyk. “We’re picking some unique covers and originals to play with these folks,” Tkachyk added. “We look forward to all meeting together before the festival to jam, rehearse, laugh and get to know each other.”
How did Spafford go about deciding what tunes they’ll play with their friends? “We picked songs that would feature the unique talents of each guest and covers that bring a special theme to the set,” Tkachyk revealed. The drummer also noted keyboardist Andrew “Red” Johnson is “recovered and ready to rock” following a a case of COVID-19 that kept him from performing at the last three shows of the band’s recently completed fall tour.
Spafford got plenty of experience playing All-Improv sets during their fall tour. They treated fans to nearly a week of one or two-song sets and delivered an All-Improv show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We just kinda said ‘screw it! Let’s go deep and have some fun!’ Next thing we knew, it was a week later,” Tkachyk recalled. He also noted the band typically doesn’t come into jam-filled sets with a gameplan but that sometimes they “use a springboard” to get them going.
Gideon Plotnicki of festival organizers GMP Live told JamBase about how the idea came to have Spafford perform special sets:
“My brother [festival partner Noah Plotnicki] and I were intent on having one of the festival’s headliners deliver a unique set for our inaugural year. It was something we talked about a lot and it was a major focus as we discussed what we wanted the lineup to look like; I’m a big believer in creating special moments for fans at festivals, something they can only experience in that time and place. After we confirmed our first headliner — Pigeons Playing Ping Pong — we put together a few ideas for artists that could do something special for the other headliner slot. Most of these ideas involved one-off super groups, or a cover set with a specific theme, but one of the ideas that we kept coming back to was the Spafford “All-Improv Set.”
“Spafford’s improvisational skills are ambitious and remarkable. We are aiming to make NBMF the home for improvisational music in South Florida, so we realized that this idea was an interesting and effective way to send that message. We eventually realized that one fully improvised set was fantastic, but it meant that they wouldn’t play any of their original songs, and that perhaps a two-set scenario made the most sense. In the vein of keeping things ‘special,’ we approached Spafford about performing a second set at the festival with a slew of special guests from the lineup, to be billed as ‘Spafford & Friends,’ and they were very open to the idea. That set will serve as an all-star finale of sorts, as it will be the last set of the weekend on the festival’s main stage.”
North Beach Music Festival tickets are on sale now here. Check out the daily schedules below: