Mark Ivan was just like any ordinary guy trying to make it in the music scene.
After growing up in New Jersey for most of his life, he decided to move to Miami, home to beautiful beaches, world famous clubs, and some of the nations largest music festivals.
Since his move, he has thrown well over 300 music events and takes his parties nationwide. Then one day, he had an idea that would revolutionize South Florida music festivals.
A free electronic music event.
“I’ve always wanted to do it," Ivan said. "I just feel it’s right to be able to spread the music out and people have no reason not to go.”
And so the Autumn Music Festival was born and has grown to one of the largest live music events in South Florida. The event is this Saturday.
It all started in 2007 with over 6,000 attendees. The huge turnout was very unexpected, but it marked the start of an event that would continue to grow.
In 2008, the event was estimated to have attracted over 15,000 screaming fans and as a result, had to be moved to a new location this year: Club Mekka and 9th street in Downtown Miami.
“We wanted to make sure all patrons were safe. We expect a large amount of people [will attend],” Ivan said.
This year’s AMF will have 9 stages and over 100 DJ’s, amongst them George Acosta, EDX, and Juan Basshead. Ivan says that when it comes to booking talent, he tries to stay ahead of the curve. He feels that it is important to involve everyone, from world famous DJ’s to locally-acclaimed ones.
“The festival has a very well rounded line up. It was definitely designed to have something for everyone but will stay in the electronic format,” explained Ivan. “The event is very family-oriented. There are a lot of DJ’s from South Florida who haven’t had their families watch them perform.”
This year the event will be collecting funds for K.I.D.S (Kids in Distressed Situations) and MEDA. All of the proceeds up to a predetermined amount will be donated to the charities. Although the event is free, Ivan hopes people will make donations to the charities.
“Brian Gallant of MAS INC. will be donating sound and lighting. If it wasn’t for people like him, a lot of events would not take place down here and I never take that for granted. I really want people to know that it is the people behind the scenes that make these things happen.”
When asked if there is any chance of taking AMF outside of South Florida, Ivan said that it is not likely.
“Maybe we’ll just close down more streets, but it’s here to stay. I just want everyone to come out and have a good time. We look forward to doing this every year,” he said.
AMF pens at noon and closes at midnight. Food and beverages will be sold on site. Backpacks, food, drinks, tents, or chairs will not be allowed inside the event.
Mekka Miami and 9th Street. 950 NE 2nd Street. All ages welcome.
For more information visit these sites:
Autumn Music Festival http://www.myspace.com/autumnmusicfestival