We sat down recently with DJ and director of Art With Me Festival, Matt Caines, as he gave us an insight into how to run a festival in 2021.

The world of the promoter is always fraught with difficulties, but more than ever that was a mantra that rings true during the cause of the pandemic. And as we’re finally beginning to emerge from Covid’s long shadow and with events again opening up around the world, it’s increasingly obvious that the general public are demanding something a bit more special from their festivals. Step forward Art With Me, an intriguing mix of art, wellness and music that looks set to leave an inimitable mark on its new home base of Miami. Originally conceived in Tulum, Mexico, the event takes places from Friday 26th – Sunday 28th November, and with YokoO, Lee Burridge and even Sublime with Rome playing – alongside an extensive list of non-musical worth getting involved with – our guess is that this is going to be a festival of seriously epic proportions. But how does putting something like this together all work? Matt Caines has provided his experienced views on how to run a festival in the conversation below.

How did you get involved with Art With Me?

I’m the managing partner, co-founder and COO of Art With Me. I was lucky that I got involved really. A friend of mine, David Graziano, invited me to come down to Tulum. He owns a bunch of hotel properties and said he wanted to build a Burning Man on the beach and for me to help him do it. I was in a transition at the time so I said why not. I moved down and dove right in. It was pretty magical and this has been my full time thing since. We have grown a lot as a team and now expanded into the US, so it worked out for the best.

What state is the US scene in right now?

The underground scene is very alive right now, you see markets like Denver really picking up and getting strong with this type of music. Las Vegas is giving residencies to underground DJ’s, so the scene is really coming up. I don’t think EDM is king any more, but what happened with it bringing artists up and making them more mainstream is happening with the underground too. It’s an exciting time now everyone is back at it.

Tell us about the art aspect of Art With Me.

We have six different pillars. We really believe in the power of wow, which is when you’re so inspired that you become more receptive to what is possible. All of us have spent a lot of time around Burning Man and we’ve been able to see all these different large scale immersive pieces. We have a big component of large scale art. We love interactive art because we think it becomes educational. We believe that the future of arts is outside of the white box and more in nature. I think that’s really the next progression and something we’re excited to be a part of.

Also, this year we are having an Art Village, our own little art fair and 20 different types of more traditional contemporary art, paintings and sculptures for sale, which is something new for us and I think ties well into the Art Basel timeframe.

Talk us through the venues too…

Unlike Tulum where we were spread out in 20 smaller venues, this event is taking place in one location. We’ve taken over Historic Virginia Key Park and built out the whole thing as one big experience.

Who are you most excited about seeing?

We have 71 acts over three days. The diversity is amazing from reggae to singer songwriters to legendary bands like Sublime. What’s really fun is seeing new talent come out that we get to discover – Elephant Heart and Ghostly Kisses are two who are really musically talented. That’s the point of Art With Me, we showcase talent in all its forms.

Tell us about some of the workshops that will be on.

There will be so many different art workshops. Art workshops about finding the artist within, Wellness workshops with astrology readings, meditation and sound movements, yoga, choreography / dance classes, and teachings on sustainability. The really interesting one is our Care With Me foundation panel discussions on the art of healing, psychology and psychedelic and how people become who they are, how art impacts life and stuff on digital physical experience. We have a large demographic. We start at noon everyday and some people may come with their kids, while others may come for the concerts, so we speak to a lot of people.

As a DJ yourself, what’s your vibe?

I like to tell a story when I play. That’s really important and not to play for ego, but from the heart to feel connected. Music should be an expression of yourself whatever style that is – for me it’s melodic music and sophisticated rhythms and allowing people to get lost in the music.

And finally, can you please tell us about some books that have helped you in the last year.

Some of them are Stop Doing That Shit, Malcolm Galdwell’s Outliers and the Tipping Point. All highly recommended!

Check out Art With Me on Facebook and Instagram.

For further information and tickers, see https://www.tixr.com/groups/art-with-me/events/art-with-me-miami-2021-28599