The Maestro Marley Cup celebrates soccer, island food and Caribbean music, all in a one-day festival splayed out across the ArtsPark at Young Circle in downtown Hollywood.
Created by Ky-Mani Marley, a son of music icon Bob Marley who lives in Pembroke Pines, the Sept. 2 event will feature musical acts Inner Circle, I-Octane, Locos Por Juana, Dubwise and The Dubplates, Alison Hinds and Spragga Benz. There will also be a 6 vs. 6 soccer tournament, DJs spinning, and cultural arts and crafts, food and drink vendors.
The festival’s title comes from Ky-Mani’s nickname, “Maestro,” and the bill also includes Marley scions Julian, Damian, Stephen, Shacia, KJ and Kastin. This will be the Marley Brothers’ first 2023 show in Florida.
This is the second consecutive year that the Maestro Marley Cup has been staged in South Florida. Back in 2018, Marley and co-organizer David “Big Hair” Brisacher (from The Dubplates) put on the first Maestro Marley Cup in Charleston, N.C., which is Brisacher’s home.
The event helps raise funds for Marley’s Love Over All Foundation, which aims to give back to Jamaican communities through sports and music. Its keynote project, Falmouth United, is a soccer center and team that provides a safe space for youth. The foundation says proceeds from last year’s event allowed them to add electricity to the sports center, pay coaches and staff, provide transportation to tournaments and serve meals, as well as to provide new shoes, uniforms, gear and other essentials. The Maestro Marley Cup is also raising funds for the Hollywood Police Athletic League, a youth activities program.
Below find more about the Maestro Marley Cup in excerpts from a question-and-answer session with Marley and Brisacher.
Q: You’ve got quite a lineup for the concert. What was the thought behind creating this bill?
Marley: Inner Circle is a legendary group, and they’re also very good friends of mine. I-Octane is an artist that I’ve worked with throughout the years and who has some really good music. Locos Por Juana — we want to be able to create an international field so everyone feels welcome — so you got the Latin going on. And we’re looking forward to adding some more before the Sept. 2 date … just to make sure that everyone that comes out gets a little bit of what they want. We hope to get some calypso in, just to make it an international feeling, not just a “reggae” concert.
Brisacher: I’m a big fan of Ky-Mani’s sons too. I’m looking forward to watching KJ and Kastin and some of the next generation up there as well. You got all the big names, but there’s also some up-and-coming talent that’ll be hitting the stage as well that I think will really impress the crowd. It’s about creating an experience. I mean, it’s something where there’s this buildup. You get all the energy from the game and then the music starts kicking in and you end it with Ky-Mani and his brothers and it’s a pretty magical, historical moment.
Q: Last year, you worked very hard to to get different island cuisines represented with the food trucks and kiosks. Will that continue this year?
Brisacher: I’ll tell you it’s been it’s been overwhelming the amount of vendor requests and support we’ve gotten from the culinary community. I’m personally a vegetarian and there’s so many different vegetarian and health-minded options down there (in South Florida), where you don’t really see that in a lot of places in the country. It’s really cool to have the diversity … and just the consciousness of the different food vendors. And people that are really putting thought into not just making it taste delicious, but also making it kind of uplifting for your mind, body, soul. … The cornerstone is having a really solid Caribbean (cuisine representation). You know there’s all sorts, whether it’s Jamaican, Haitian, every taste of the island you could have. … You’ll get tons of jerk and everything from the islands that you can imagine. A lot of great seafood.
Q: You made a little change to the quick-paced, 30-minute soccer matches, right?
Marley: Yes, it’s six people per team. Last year, we did seven, but we saw the field was a little bit small so we weren’t getting enough movement. It felt a little bit crowded at times. So we just dropped one man from each team, just to create some more space. And that means you got to do a little bit more running. Now there’s more of the field, so now you have to cover those spaces.
Brisacher: One of the great things about our first time working with the City of Hollywood and the county is just how much support there was. There’s very few municipalities get behind an event the way they’ve gotten behind Maestro Marley Cup. So not only do we have the City of Hollywood, but we also have Visit Lauderdale tourism bureau. And it’s really cool to see a government that is supporting the culture in the community the way that they did last year and the way they’re doing it this year. One of my favorite things that I enjoyed watching, I was watching Ky-Mani … and all the different mayors in that first soccer game (in 2022). That was a really cool experience watching all of the public leaders getting mashed up in the soccer match.
Q: What did you guys learn from last year’s production, the first one you did in SoFlo?
Brisacher: We’re adding some more activations for the kids. One thing that’s really important to get out there is that all kids 12 and under are free. We wanted to really make sure that the families were taken care of.
Marley: I think last year was, I don’t want to say beyond our expectations because we were all expecting the best, but it definitely was an overwhelming feeling to see all the people that came out and the age range of people that came out. It was a great experience because you know the soccer element of it, the earlier part in the day, allowed for a lot of younger kids and some older folks to get out and still enjoy the soccer and still be able to get a little bit of music because the music started, I think, at like 4 o’clock in the afternoon. And then … the more night-out crowd, the more vibrant crowd stayed and we continued on into the night. … It is a family fun day that everyone, no matter your age, that comes out will have something that they can enjoy.
Q: Ky-Mani is back and forth to Falmouth with his foundation, but Big Hair, have you seen the work that is done there?
Brisacher: One important thing to me, working on this for Ky-Mani, was when I got to take a trip down there and see what he was doing firsthand in Falmouth, where he grew up, and with the team and Falmouth United. That’s part of the event nobody really gets to see … what Ky-Mani is doing for the community where he grew up. And that’s kind of what sold me on connecting the soccer — not really my love of the sport, but more my respect for what he has been doing down there and how this event can really help take that to another level.
Q: There’s a movie coming out in 2024 called “Bob Marley: One Love” starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch and James Norton. One of the producers is Brad Pitt. You must be excited. Did they work with the family?
Marley: Man, I’m excited. I’m super-excited actually, you know? Definitely looking forward to that. It’s been a while. This story should have been told … and I’m just happy we’re getting it out now. Nothing before it’s time. So I’m happy. They worked with the family. My older brother (Ziggy) is one of the producers, so he spearheaded it.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Maestro Marley Cup
WHEN: Saturday, Sept 2. Gates will open at noon for the soccer tournament, and live music performances are set for 4-11 p.m.
WHERE: ArtsPark at Young Circle, 1 N. Young Circle, Hollywood
COST: Advanced tickets are $50 for general admission and $150+ for VIP (includes a private bar, premier viewing area and separate VIP entry gate). Tickets will be $60 at the gate. Free for children age 12 and younger.