James Quinlan "The Rhythm Man"
Meet the man behind the North Beach Bandshell & The Rhythm Foundation
Since 1988, Rhythm Foundation has forged a place for themselves in Miami's cultural community with an
impressive roster of concerts, festivals and events featuring artists from around the world. In 2015, the
Foundation began managing the historic North Beach Bandshell giving new life to the venue and the
Built in 1961 by Norman Giller and Associates, the North Beach Bandshell has become an anchor of the North
Shore Historic District. Since its construction, the Bandshell has been a gathering place for North Beach residents.
Now, with the guidance of James Quinlan and Rhythm Foundation, the North Beach Bandshell will become a
more vibrant destination, not just for the surrounding community but for all of Miami, Miami Beach and even
visiting tourists. Miami Beach Life Magazine took the opportunity to chat with Rhythm Foundation's Executive
Director James Quinlan about the exciting new programs that will be offered at the North Beach Bandshell.
MBL: How did Rhythm Foundation get involved with North Beach Bandshell and what impact has the
JQ: In the past, the Rhythm Foundation had produced occasional concerts at the Bandshell
including TransAtlantic Festival and we used to rent the venue from the City of Miami Beach. Then, the City
put out an RFP and we applied and won the bid to manage and operate the facility. We have been full time
managers of the venue since 2015.
MBL: Do you promote your events to the general public, the community or to a niche market? Where is the
best place to look for your events besides your website?
JQ: We promote to the general public, targeting first the Miami Beach local community, and then to the wider
regional public. Each show has a specialized campaign, driven by the artist and audience. You can look for events
on the North Beach Bandshell and Rhythm Foundation websites, Facebook, Instagram, and even take a look at
our electronic marquee on Collins Avenue at 73rd Street. One of the best ways to stay in touch is to get on our
email list. Sign up on the website. We also partner with outlets and publications like Miami Beach Life Magazine
to promote these events.
MBL: Discuss community outreach and work with the neighborhood.
JQ: Over half of the events that take place at the Bandshell are free community events and there is always
something on the calendar for everyone. Whether it's a salsa night, swing dance night, or food hall. This
season we are very excited by the completion of the Beach Walk, a continuous pedestrian and bicycle
oceanside walkway that goes all the way from South Pointe to North Beach. The campaign we are creating is
called “Beach Walk to the Bandshell”.
MBL: Your programming seems to focus on international music. What's the process for booking these acts? Do get any input from the community on what they want?
JQ: We have been presenting international artists in the
Miami and Miami Beach markets for over 30 years. We work with a host of local, national and international partners who keep us informed about opportunities and new talent emerging from global markets.
MBL: Tell us a little about new program plans like North Beach Social and Summer Stage North Beach launching in 2020.
JQ: North Beach Social begins this season as a series of pop-up food halls, featuring North Beach/ Miami Beach restaurants and guest chefs. This new project replaces the monthly Food Truck and Music Night. Guests can dine at a large communal dining table under the newly installed canopy, getting to know neighbors while exploring some of the district's most enticing food offerings. Entertainment programming during the night will feature top local and regional bands and other festive activation's to compliment the social atmosphere. The program overlaps with the City
of Miami Beach's new 3rd Thursday Culture Crawl schedule. North Beach Summer Stage is designed as a month-long series of major concerts to anchor a dense calendar of coordinated programs which
connect the neighborhood as an ideal summer tourism destination. Area offerings will include
micro-theater, film screenings, beach sports, wellness, culinary events, and kids' activities,
all presented in partnership with North Beach's tourism and hospitality amenities. The schedule
will be announced in early 2020. Check for event announcements on RhythmFoundation.com and
MBL: North Beach Theater Camp sound like a great
idea. Love the idea of Dance Band Nights, Yoga
on the Beach and Meditative Summer Music.
Can you elaborate on these events and explain
how people can participate?
JQ: These are all elements included in the North
Beach Summerstage program which is a cultural
tourism initiative. We realized that the summer
months are when most families are able to take
time for vacation and we wanted North Beach to
be known as a wonderful family friendly summer
MBL: Can you share any of the names booked
for upcoming concerts?
JQ: Most of the touring artists announce their
schedules only 90-180 days in advance so we
work with a constantly updating calendar.
Some of the highlights this fall include Issac
Delgado, RAM, Tito Puente Jr and Rhye.
MBL: Rhythm Foundation has transformed the North Beach Bandshell into quite a destination.
What are some of the memorable concerts of the past season?
JQ: Some highlights include the sold-out Global Cuba Fest with Cimafunk and Dayme Arocena, the 9-piece Brooklyn funk band Turkuaz, British Reggae band Steel Pulse and the Afro Roots Fest featuring Fatoumata Diawara and Noura Mint Seymali. And of course, one of our most important offerings each season for the past three years has been the Ground Up Music Festival, which is really the best of next generation jazz influenced musicians curated by Snarkey Puppy.
MBL: Your schedule announces the Miami Beach Salsa Fest #6. What should be except from this
event? Salsa performances, classes, any food?
JQ: The Miami Beach Salsa Festival is hosted by a wonderful talent Melina Almodovar, and her group La Muneca de la Salsa. She has hosted these events in the past and it is really a blast for all ages and any level of Salsa dancer! This is FREE with RSVP at northbeachbandshell.com
MBL: The Hispanic Heritage Celebration featuring Tito Puente Jr. and Melina Almodovar looks like a great event. Is this also a free event?
JQ: Yes, this is free! It is supported by the City of Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee. This is one example of the many civic functions which we are so proud to host throughout the year. A majority of our events are free. Funders currently include the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment of the Arts, the Knight Foundation, Baptist Health, Urban Resource, Atlantic Broadband, Kahuna Properties, Hollywood Brewing, Sandbar & Kitchen, and the
MBL: What else would you like to share with the readers? Do you need volunteers? What are some of the programs offered now? It seems like this new programming will make the North Beach Bandshell a major destination. Have any structural changes been made to the event to facilitate these new programs – seating, concessions, parking, etc.
JQ:Our goal is to create events which serve the resident community as well as attract cultural tourism visitors. Regional visitors often experience the North Beach neighborhood for the first time through a Bandshell event, and then make it a regular destination. Some programs engage the inbound tourists who will spend a long weekend or longer in the community for special events. The canopy installation marks the North Beach Bandshell's next phase, and the weather protection it offers allows the most ambitious and diverse schedule of events to date. The City of Miami Beach has worked for several years on the design and procurement process for this canopy. The project is led by architect Ira Giller, son of Norman Giller who served as the Bandshell's original designer when it opened in 1961. The canopy design mirrors the original circular terrazzo floor, in harmony with the circular entrance features. When installed, it will provide much-needed shade from afternoon sun and shelter for most rain, while retaining the feel of an open-air venue. The canopy is designed to withstand winds of up to 80 mph, and is retractable in the instance of a hurricane warning. In addition to the canopy, a new seating system has been funded for this year allowing for a flexible reserve seated capability of 800, and creates a rear elevated viewing platform. The general admission occupancy load rating of the facility is 1,350 people. The Bandshell provides a unique performance experience for both the artist and audience. With free parking after 6:00 p.m. at the municipal lot across the street, free trolley service up and down Collins Avenue, and the newly opened Beach Walk along the Ocean, we are very easy to reach. I encourage everyone to sign up for the email
notices and take part in the upcoming season!