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The first Orange Drive festival took over the sand between 6th and 9th streets alongside Ocean Drive from December 31 to January 2, and drew some 15,000 attendees. Comprised of four events, the festival was meant to drive tourism and included a New Year’s Eve party, a Latin music festival, a New Year's Day concert for kids, and a pep rally leading up to the January 3 Discover Orange Bowl game between Virginia Tech and Stanford University. New York-based Union Square Agency and the Orange Bowl Committee collaborated on the festival, which was planned in just four months.
“We were approached by the Orange Bowl Committee and the City of Miami Beach to create an opportunity to engage the local community, and to attract people from other parts of the world to come to South Beach around New Year’s and the time of the Orange Bowl,” said Shawn Garrity, president of Union Square Agency, which produced and managed the festival. “It was really a good opportunity to hit different markets and leverage the substantial physical footprint we developed there.”
Radio Disney hosted the first of four events, the Noon Year’s Eve Kids Countdown, on December 31, featuring punk pop-rock band Kicking Daisies. Next up was Jam on the Sand, a New Year's Eve party headlined by Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield, and DJ Irie that wrapped up at 2 a.m. On New Year’s Day, salsa legend Gilberto Santa Rosa performed, along with others, at the En Vivo Latin Festival. The Gridiron Bash Pep Rally, the last of the Orange Drive festivities, took place on January 2, featuring Entourage’s Adrian Grenier and his band the Honey Brothers, along with comedian Adam Carolla. The marching bands from both schools competing in the Orange Bowl also performed during this event. Garrity said the two most successful events were Jam on the Sand and the pep rally; they each drew about 5,000 people.
The organizers of the multiday festival, sponsored by Cointreau, Boost Mobile, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, implemented an “aggressive 360 campaign” leading up to the events, consisting of a social media push (on Facebook and Twitter), advertising in national (Radio Disney) and local (The Miami Herald) media, aerial advertising, and flyers. Tickets were sold 45 days in advance on the event’s Web site, as well as through secondary online partners, though the majority of attendees (about 70 percent) bought tickets on site. According to Garrity, people from more than 35 countries attended Orange Drive; he hopes that number will grow in the coming years.
“We’ve entered into a four-year contract [with the Orange Bowl Committee],” he said. “However, if it’s not working, the city could decide we’re not doing it again. The great news is, we’ve already gotten the approval for 2011 and we will have a lot more time to plan. This will give us time to develop our sponsorship programs and get it the national media attention it deserves. It was really widely accepted, and the feedback has been mostly positive from everybody’s standpoint.”