They were not even listed on the program nor listed on the website, but there is no doubt the Miami Street Band stole the show during Carnaval on the Mile, the annual Latin Jazz festival held on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables this past weekend.

That’s not to say Suenalo, Soul Rebels and Locos Por Juana did not provide rousing performances on the stage at the west end of Miracle Mile.

And from what I hear, Palo! did great on the stage at the east end of Miracle Mile.

But the Miami Street Band was not confined to any stage or schedule or soundboard.

They were able to bring the music to the people rather than wait for the people to come to the music. So even if you were just there for the art or the food or the sidewalk sales, you had no choice but to get swept up in the music.

And people did just that as the band marched down Miracle Mile, stopping at various intersections before marching down to another intersection. They  had a Pied Piper effect on the people, including me.

But I’ve always had an appreciation for New Orleans style street performers, as you can see in this video. I liken the street musician to the street photographer; spontaneous, improvising and always discovering.

In fact, it was only Saturday night where I was having a conversation with Brad Schenk; activist, traveler and videographer; who also did some videos from Carnaval.

He had just returned from Mardi Gras in New Orleans and we were talking about how much we like the Big Easy and he said the following memorable quote:

“If New York City and Miami had a bastard child, it would be New Orleans.”

Although several of the bands featured at the festival were from the Big Easy, none came close to matching that classic New Orleans sound than the Miami Street Band.

I’m willing to bet a few of those band members graduated from Florida A&M University, home to the famous Marching 100 band, which only happens to be the best college marching band in the country.

Check out photos of the Miami Street Band as well as other subjects during the festival.

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