Rolling Loud organizers and Miami police tout success and safety of hip-hop festival

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After a political dust-up threatened to cancel the show before things even got going, Rolling Loud rolled through Bayfront Park over the weekend with some of the biggest stars in hip-hop putting on energetic performances for concert-goers.

The three-day festival featured rapper Lil Uzi Vert taking flight from an equipment tent, performances by big names including A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, and fireworks-filled closing performances from Future and Travis Scott.

“I’m glad that everybody performed. We’re proud of what we accomplished and we’re looking to get better,” said Tariq Cherif, the festival’s co-founder.

As tens of thousands traversed the park, many said the festival met and even exceeded their expectations, but the festival also had few hiccups.

The festival, in its third year and first time at Bayfront Park, experienced some delays of set times throughout the weekend due to lively crowds that had to be asked to settle down or other unforeseen issues.

The biggest confusion came Sunday evening as the anxious crowd anticipated a performance from the rap group Migos. The performance was set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday but by 7 p.m. the group still hadn’t taken the stage.

Eventually the group’s set was pushed back and then moved to another stage due to safety concerns over attendees in the front row feeling faint and dehydrated.

Cherif said that he and his organizers will assess the positives and negatives from this year and use their evaluation to improve the festival in 2018. He also noted that his team adjusted after performers like Kodak Black and Kevin Gates couldn’t make the show due to legal issues.

“We bounced back and gave the fans a hell of a show.” Cherif said. “The biggest concern is looking out for the fans’ safety and I’m proud to say that we did just that with the help of police and fire and security.”

Capt. Ignatius Carroll said Miami Fire Rescue received about 50 calls on Friday, 43 on Saturday and 40 on Sunday. Of those there were 15 transports to the hospital on day one and then nine and six transports on the following days. Carroll said the majority of calls were for dehydration, people who might’ve been injured as they danced and for some attendees who became ill.

Miami police spokesman Rene Pimentel said there were 47 arrests over the weekend, the majority of which were narcotics related. There were nine arrests Friday — seven of them felony narcotics arrests — and 19 each on Saturday and Sunday. Of the 38 arrests on the last two days, 17 were misdemeanors that involved narcotics, trespassing or disorderly conduct.

“It was very much in line with any type of event of this size so we’re very happy with the crowd. We didn’t have any big incidents,” Pimentel said.

One notable arrest on Sunday was New York Jets wide receiver Robbie Anderson, who was charged with obstruction of a police officer and resisting arrest with violence. An arrest report said that he fought with event security and eventually pushed an officer before he was forced to the ground by police and arrested.


A$AP Rocky performs during the first day of the Rolling Loud Festival in downtown Miami on Friday, May 5, 2017.

MATIAS J. OCNER For the Miami Herald

Despite all the shuffling of performers Sunday, fans Miguel Silva and Tom Freda said they would still give the event a 10 out of 10.

“The lineup was the coolest lineup I’ve ever seen,” Freda said.

That seemed to be the feeling all weekend as people drank, smoked and enjoyed the Miami weather. Nearly every crowd was at a fever pitch well into the evening on all three nights.

And while the thousands inside were joyful, the park’s downtown neighbors expressed some frustration in emails to city of Miami commissioners Frank Carollo and Ken Russell.

“No doubt, many parents had to explain to their small children why they were hearing so many bad words,” wrote downtown resident Eugene Walton in an email to Carollo. “Who was responsible for the approval of this assault on downtown?”

When asked about next year Cherif did not confirm if the festival would take place at Bayfront Park, but said Rolling Loud will be returning to Miami.

Miami Herald staff writer David Smiley and Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet contributed to this report.

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