“Big Night” in Little Haiti says farewell

Popular concert series Big Night in Little Haiti had a triumphant farewell last Friday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, as music fans gathered to celebrate their last event. Big Night, hosted every third Friday since March 2011, had to close because of lack of funding, said a statement from organizers, The Rhythm Foundation.

For the concert’s last round, there were stellar performances from premier Kompas group Gabel, with DJ Mack Brazile keeping the beat strong all night long. Local band RARA Lakay closed the night with the traditional and beloved rara parade spilling out the venue into Little Haiti.

The event initially launched with a $125,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, and another $120,000 grant to cover expenses for 2013 and 2014. And in 2015, the Knight Foundation dished out another $60,000. The final donation dried up in September. Unfortunately, no major sponsor stepped forward to cover the expenses of the free community concert, which costed $10,000 a month.

DJ Mack, a regular deejay at Big Night poses for the camera
DJ Mack poses for the camera at one of the Big Night in Little Haiti events
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“In a perfect world, we would have had a title sponsor,” Rhythm Foundation director Laura Quinlan told the Herald. “I don’t know why we didn’t get one — it seemed to me like the project was so fundable. I imagined at the beginning that Target or Bank of America would come in and sponsor it. It was such a quality production. It was so family-friendly. So many people came every month with their extended families. We had activities for kids and great institutional partners.”

Quinlan does hope the foundation will soon be able to re-launch the popular event. One new concert series has already popped up, promising to fill the void. “Sounds of Little Haiti”, will host a fun, family-friendly cultural activity every third Friday of the month at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, beginning May 20, with performances from Tabou Combo.

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