Published on February 6th, 2023

Emeline Michel by Gregory Reed

In our pursuit of good tans and great entertainment, it’s easy to forget that natural beauty surrounds us and doesn’t stop at our shores. Living where others vacation, from the Keys to the Palm Beaches, South Floridians don’t take as much advantage of their public parks as other, similarly blessed people around the globe do. So when two strong regional presenters, Miami Light Project and Community Arts and Culture, team up for an event with Miami-Dade County’s parks and rec division, it’s an occasion to note.

The result is A Great Day at Oak Grove Park, a musical reflection of South Florida at its most vibrant and varied, and a free, all-ages opportunity for South Floridians to take advantage of some of the quieter spaces that make our communities much more than just vacation stops.

Spam Allstars

Great Day 2023 takes place at Oak Grove Park, a green oasis in the Golden Glades area near North Miami Beach that is often referred to as the crown jewel of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. They may never (if they’re lucky) duplicate the sitcom hijinks of television’s best-loved parks administrator, Leslie Knope, but the Miami-Dade crew have done outstanding work with their cultural partners in making this particular great day possible.

Haitian songstress and Red Cross ambassador Emeline Michel is the headliner, and an internationally acclaimed, multidisciplinary performing artist based in New York City. Her fusion of pop, jazz and blues with traditional Haitian rhythms has delighted audiences around the world.

“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band worldwide!

Also on the bill: local drummer, singer and dancer Inez Barlatier, the daughter of another regional favorite, Jan Sebon, and whirlwind of multicultural sound and rhythm in her own right; award-winning acoustic folk band Cortadito, exemplars of classic Cuban son in the Buena Vista Social Club mold; the local, Latin Grammy-nominated Afro-Cuban jam-dance, multi-genre musical octopus known as Spam Allstars; visionary Haitian artist Papaloko. A few as-yet-unnaounced special guests are also promised.

Cortadito by Luis Olazabal

A Great Day at Oak Grove Park ft Emeline Michel, Tabou Combo, Inez Barlatier, Papaloko, Spam Allstars, Cortadito starts 1pm Saturday, Feb. 18 at Oak Grove Park in North Miami Beach. miamilightproject.com ~ Abel Folgar