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The South Florida Roundup

Concerns over Spring Break curfew and race, a local duo performs at Ultra Music Festival and the missing time capsule in Key West

A crowd of revelers at a past Ultra Festival
Matias J. Ocner
A crowd of revelers at a past Ultra Festival.

Miami Beach’s handling of Spring Break has led to concerns about over-policing in largely Black crowds. Ultra Music Festival welcomes back Afrobeta. Plus, there’s a lost time capsule from 1972 somewhere in Key West.

The City of Miami Beach imposed a midnight curfew as of Thursday night in South Beach. This comes after there were two shootings last weekend. City officials have blamed these on unruly crowds of partiers. Patrons and businesses are also seeing a ban on alcohol sales after 6 p.m. The police department says it's overwhelmed while the partiers say they’re just here for a good time.

It’s the latest edition of what has become a regular feature of Miami Beach culture and the Miami Beach government. Officials want to crack down on incidents of violence that sometimes happen on crazy weekends while the tourism industry is caught in the middle.

More often than not, these tensions come to a head when large numbers of Black tourists and locals visit the entertainment district.

Stephen Hunter Johnson is an attorney and the former Chair of the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board. In response to the city’s emergency curfew, he recently told the Miami Herald that the only emergency in Miami Beach was that there were Black people on the beach. He added that the curfew was an overreaction.

“[The curfew] is designed to send a message that we’re really not interested in Black tourists,” Johnson said. “The only time the City of Miami Beach engages this sledgehammer-to-a-fly solution is when it applies to Black people.”

In contrast, Glendon Hall supports the curfew. He’s the Chair of the Miami Beach Black Affairs Advisory Committee.

“The big issue that we have is the crowds in addition to folks with these firearms,” Hall said. “So, my biggest thing is stopping these stampedes that can hurt and kill people.”

The curfew is scheduled from midnight to 6 a.m. starting on Thursday evening and ending on Monday morning.

Afrobeta returns to Ultra Music Festival

If you live anywhere near Downtown Miami, get ready to hear pounding bass and see flashing lights for the next three days. That’s right, Ultra Music Festival has returned to Bayfront Park after two years of being canceled because of the pandemic and a short-lived stint at Virginia Key in 2019.

This news might be disappointing for some locals who loathe the traffic and noise, but for electronic dance music enthusiasts, the wait is finally over. Some of the world’s most popular DJs and artists will perform to massive crowds of music lovers. For the local electro-funk duo Afrobeta, performing at Ultra has always been a priority.

Cuci Amador and Tony Laurencio are the energetic musicians behind Afrobeta. They started back in 2006 and made their way to Ultra by 2009. Since then, performing in front of international audiences at one of the pioneering EDM festivals has garnered more loyal fans and more worthwhile experiences.

Amador remembers one year where the entire first row of one of the larger concerts was filled with head-bangers, like something you’d see at a heavy metal concert.

“That inspires me, you know what I mean?” Amador said. “Anything that would make you so freakin’ passionate and move in such a way.”

As for tips on what to do to have an enjoyable time this weekend, Amador and Laurencio say to bring some earplugs, drink lots of water, don't forget to stretch, and wear comfortable shoes.

“We all love fashion and want to look cute, but wear comfortable shoes and you will have a great time dancing,” Amador said.

Afrobeta is performing at Ultra Music Festival on Saturday at 4 p.m.

The case of the missing time capsule in Key West

The American flag was first raised in Key West 200 years ago this week. Locals are celebrating their city’s bicentennial by creating a time capsule to commemorate the island’s history.

It turns out this isn’t an uncommon way to honor a significant anniversary. Key West residents from 1972 had a similar idea when they celebrated the island’s 150th birthday. That means there’s another time capsule filled with Key West memorabilia, but locals might not ever find it.

The time capsule is lost indefinitely. One local followed clues from 1972 newspaper reports that stated the capsule could be found in a development called Old Town Square. However, that doesn’t exist anymore. It once stood near the corner of Duval and Front Street.

Fifty years later, locals are putting their items in a time capsule that will stand above ground. Most time capsules are buried, but due to rising sea levels along the South Florida coast, that could cause some long-term problems. The city will be sure to not lose it this time.

You can read WLRN Keys reporter Nan Klingener’s full story here. She also joined the program to talk about another recent discovery: a logbook from 1822 that documents the first time the Navy sent a ship to scope out the island.

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Amber Amortegui is a senior studying journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Born and raised in Davie, Fla., Amber is a native South Floridian who embraces one of America’s most diverse regions.
Daniel Rivero is part of WLRN's new investigative reporting team. Before joining WLRN, he was an investigative reporter and producer on the television series "The Naked Truth," and a digital reporter for Fusion.