“Mini Burning Man on the Beach.” That’s the quickest description of this past weekend’s premiere Fractal Beach Festival on Virginia Key Historic Park’s coconut-dotted shore.
Three stages vibed music all day (except early Saturday around 2 AM when the noise ordinance shut down music a in the wee hours of the night)—the mainstage, smoke-and-laser-show equipped; the Incendia stage, with its pluming geysers of fire that hissed and whooshed through the nights; and the massively chill beach stage that directed its massive, bumping, Funktion One speakers straight at the dancers, spinners, hoopers, hammocks, and the waves.
Fractal Beach boasted an impressive line-up, especially of producers including Ott., Thriftworks, Blockhead, and dozens more. Well known local artists like Afrobeta, Telekinetic Walrus, and Otto von Schirach stapled down the new festival and gave it a distinctly Miami vibe.
University of Miami junior Rohan Bhatia-Newman, a producer who goes by the Nocturnal Status on stage, rocked a Sunday night set right after sunset.
“It was really a blessing,” he said, “You know, with the whole ‘Nocturnal Status’ thing, and I was able to play right at sunset and start the night.”
The crowd had refused to quit after afternoon rain, and who would’ve expected them to? Fractal Beach was a pretty small festival with only a few thousand attendees. Pretty small, especially compared with some of the gargantuan events around Miami this month like Okeechobee and Ultra. Nocturnal Status said he could definitely feel the different vibes.
“I walked away really happy from my Okeechobee set, but at Fractal,” he said, “I could instantly feel the energy from the crowd, and I could like feel their energy change with me and my energy.
“There were a lot of underground artists. The idea of the festival was to be open to talented people, to give smaller artists a place to play and people to play for,” he said.
The festies were mostly here on vacation from the cold North, everywhere from Texas to New York to Seattle, and nobody was complaining about the ocean view.
“God, I don’t miss the snow. And there’s wind here, but it’s really actually perfect when the suns out and shining through the trees and you know all the dancing and smiling and stuff, that’s awesome too,” Tim “Oakbear” Hauser, a Chicagoan, said.
This festival wasn’t just about head-pumping bass. Massive Ideas, the company that produced Fractal Beach, aimed to make the fest a cross-cultural event, inviting social awareness speakers on permaculture, wellness, and spirituality, and hosting yoga classes on the beach all day.
Camping at the park was split between the RV filled parking lot, next to the world’s tallest sandcastle (which, if you haven’t seen it already, needs to be checked out), and right along the beach where hundreds of dread heads tented with drums and poi and tie dye. Apparently Fractal Beach was scheduled for perfect coconut season too because plenty of barefoot hippies climbed the palms for their milky, nutritious nectar.
Many of the acts went on late, but little kinks are expected of a first-time festival. Overall though, Fractal is definitely a festival to hit up next year. It’s easily accessibly from anywhere in Miami, a beautiful location, and it brought beautiful people. Like with any festival, the best way to experience it is being a part of it, so volunteer and grab a free ticket for the show next year!