Local teenagers harmonize safety with sound
May 14, 2015
Electronic music lovers have a reason to rejoice this Saturday with the unveiling of a new festival right here in Pinecrest.
Put on by two of Palmetto’s own, Banyan Fest is Pinecrest’s first exclusive electronic music festival, premiering a new sound and environment to local teenagers.
In 2014, Ultra Music Festival received strong community backlash after attendees stampeded the entry gates, nearly killing a security guard. The festival, though it remains one of Miami’s highest grossing annual events, is often affiliated with drug use and inconvenient crowding of public transportation. Ultimately, these realities led to an age restriction enforced in 2015, allowing only attendees 18 years of age or older. Juniors Josh Benzadon and Elliott Saruski were among those affected by the new security measure.
“Ultra seems to have a monopoly on the whole festival scene here in Miami,” Benzadon said. “We saw that kids who love the music were often not allowed to go because of the dangers that come with the territory or because they simply couldn’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars over the course of three days.”
Banyan Fest’s goal lies in creating a safe, teen friendly environment while also promising a musically enriching experience. All of the festival’s proceeds will be put toward Teens Against Distracted Driving (TAAD), a charity to benefit awareness for unsafe habits on the road.
“After missing some of our favorite artists at Ultra this year, Josh and I were inspired to create a safe environment for teens to be surrounded by others who share a similar taste in music,” Saruski said. “By also raising awareness for a cause that directly affects us as teens, we achieve more than just a music event, we achieve an initiative.”
Banyan Fest will be held at the Banyan Bowl in Pinecrest Gardens from 6:30pm to 10:00pm. Open to all from ages 13 to 18, tickets can be purchased at the door for $10. Check out the lineup of artists on the festival’s Instagram or Twitter – @banyanfest.