FIU’s 9th annual Bayfest will end the semester with a bang

Florida International University will host its ninth annual Bayfest music festival this Saturday from 4 p.m. until midnight at the Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC). Live performances, games, food, and water sports are expected as the university celebrates the close of its 2024 spring semester.

Bayfest is considered FIU’s version of Miami’s electronic dance music festival Ultra, except each year the school selects a different genre to highlight. The event is focusing on Caribbean sounds this time and will feature Jada Kingdom, a Jamaican reggae and R&B star, Queen K, a Miami-based rapper, and KAÏ, a kompa group hailing from Haiti.

“Something we brag about is that many of the Bayfest artists who have come through to the concert hit it big — real big — after they leave here,” said Ysleande Pierre, director of the Student Programming Council. “I think that we’re lucky.” She noted hip-hop sensation Migos, who skyrocketed to fame shortly after headlining the festival in 2016, as an example. 

The crowd at Bayfest 2023 cheers with excitement. (Photo courtesy of Campus Life BBC)

Organized and governed by FIU’s Student Programming Council, Bayfest was created as a way for students to unwind during finals season and celebrate the end of the spring semester. Since its conception, the festival has gone through a massive transformation. The council now allows for student input and suggestions and attendance has soared from the event’s inaugural 400 visitors to 1,000 visitors within last year’s festival alone.

“Depending on the year, depending on pricing, and depending on the artists, we can get anywhere from 800 to 1,000 students,” shared Pierre. “That is where we have been the past couple of years, and we are looking to grow by adding some new things.”

The supporting acts performing this Bayfest come from diverse cultural backgrounds. One of these is Haitian Caribbean-pop artist J. Perry. Born and raised on the island, the singer, songwriter and composer plays music that is heavily influenced by his culture. He adds a “Haitian sound” into several of his favorite music genres, from reggae to kompa.

“We live in a rough time; people need to let loose and listen to music and enjoy,” said Perry. “Come to the festival — let’s enjoy, let’s have a great time, and let’s make good memories.”

Music isn’t the only thing attendees can expect at Bayfest. The event will feature a pool party at BBC’s Bayview Student Housing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free entry for FIU students and Bayview residents. Food trucks and local vendors will give visitors a chance to taste and shop the best of Miami, and a new drone show from the Homecoming Committee is sure to light up the nighttime sky.

At Bayfest you’ll find the essence of Miami culture, music, and community. Tickets range anywhere from $15 for general admission to $30 for a VIP pass and can be purchased here.

Lenny St. Remy is a junior at Florida International University majoring in digital journalism. He aims to combine his passion for sports and writing to excel in sports journalism after graduating.

Nathaly Dominguez is a junior majoring in journalism with a passion for the performing arts. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a career in entertainment media, allowing her to dissect pop-culture at the professional level.