The checkered flag flies for Red Bull Guest House, hosted during inaugural Miami Grand Prix Weekend [Review]
Words by Drew Tornabene
What might racing’s heyday of the 1960’s and 1970’s look like when reframed in a modern, dance/electronic-inflected context? For Red Bull, this was less of a question and more of a thematic guiding principle for Red Bull Guest House, hosted during the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. And from May 6 – 8, an invite-only guest list of artists, musicians, athletes, celebrities, media, and F1 fans found the answer on the dance floor at The Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
The exclusive experience, created by Red Bull in conjuction with The Faena and a handful of entertainment curators, captured the glint of racing’s golden era in the glitz and glamor of the Miami social scene—with clear sonic influence. Formula 1 (F1) and dance/electronic music’s relationship might not be readily apparent to all, but across three nights of music programming, Red Bull compelling teased out this connection with the assistance of Tigre Sounds, Teksupport, and Insomniac and Club Space.
The first of Red Bull Guest House’s three evenings of live music was curated by Tigre Sounds and sourced sets from Brenda Navarrete, DJ Nickodemus, Gabriele Poso, Sinego (live), Richie Hell (live), Miluhska (live), Roujeee Tunes, and Maure. The second, Teksupport Presents Autopista, saw American Dance Ghosts, Arca (DJ set), Carlita & Friends, DJ Tennis back-to-back James Murphy, Eli Escobar, and Physical Therapy tend the decks. The third and final installment, Insomniac x Club Space Present “You Should Be Dancing,” featured Adam Auburn, Bedouin, Channel Tres, Heidi Lawden, Hint of Lavender, Horse Meat Disco, Ms. Mada back-to-back Layla Benitez, and Soul Clap. Although each Red Bull Guest House curator was tasked with crafting a sonically distinctive outing, altogether, the three evenings’ musical foci paid homage to Miami’s Latin culture and the sounds not only prevalent during racing’s golden age (hello, disco), but also the fusion-driven styles that have the potential to rise as racing gains new steam.
It’s worth noting that the recent uptick in American interest in racing is owed in part to the advent of the drama TV series, Drive to Survive. Such interest has also been fostered by dance/electronic’s increasing interaction with the sport; since Skrillex headlined the Indy 500 Snakepit in 2016, genre figureheads have continued to align with racing events, with Skrillex, Alesso, ILLENIUM, and Chris Lake playing the Snakepit in 2019. And with an Insomniac Race Week takeover already on the books for F1’s impending return to Las Vegas in 2023, Red Bull Guest House was right on trend in its focus on the collision of racing culture and dance/electronic sounds.
Dancing Astronaut was live on location for Red Bull Guest House, an experience that aesthetically catered to the finer things per its thematic aim—both on and off the dance floor and on and off the track. As guests arrived at the famed Faena Hotel on May 6, they were greeted by a dominating display of Red Bull racing history, including the team’s classic RB6 race car, as well as gear worn during past Grand Prixs by Max Verstappen, Daniel Riccardo, and Sebastian Vettel. On the beach, onlookers were treated to the aerial acrobatics of the Red Bull Air Force before enjoying a beachside dinner featuring Latin-inspired cuisine amid tabletops adorned by artwork from Orly Anan. Brenda Navarrente’s Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban sounds added personality to what would, in retrospect, be regarded as an idyllic opening to the F1 weekend. The performance from Navarrente, a rising star in Havana whose interpretations of contemporary World music have won her praise, was a part of Racíes, an experience curated by Tigre Sounds, a lifestyle platform that seeks to translate Latin sounds and culture to a largely untapped United States audience. As a whole, Racíes celebrated Miami’s Latin heritage while aligning with the worldliness of the sport of racing and its global, diverse fanbase. Featured acts included Mexican/Colombian DJ Sinego (who was later joined by Brenda Navarrente on percussion), Ritchie Hell, DJ Nikodemus, Gabriele Poso, Miluhska, Roujeee Tunes, and Maure.
“I had two scopes, the Miami sound and the heritage [sound], which I think is a mix of DJs with intercontinental rhythms to sample from around the world,” Isabella Acker, the founder and visionary of Tigre Sounds, told Dancing Astronaut when asked to detail her approach to the evening’s artistic selection.
Saturday, May 7 brought about the first full day of Red Bull Guest House as some attendees made their way to the track to view the day’s practice and qualifying sessions. When night fell upon the Faena grounds, Guest House invitees were thrown into the contemporary experience of Autopista, curated by Teksupport, which underscored the modernity of the new racing scene and its ever-evolving marriage to dance music. The night featured DJ sets from the likes of Shit Robot, American Dance Ghosts, and Carlita and friends, the latter of whom kept the Faena’s speakeasy area moving and grooving until the early morning with modern house beats. Arca brought her unique and experimental style to the main theater with a Latin/bass/alternative-reggaeton mashup, which ultimately took home our pick for set of the night. As an additional surprise, the night ended with a back-to-back set from DJ Tennis and surprise guest James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem.
With ticket prices soaring higher than the Super Bowl and the largest crowd to ever assemble at Hard Rock Stadium descending on the grandstands, come Sunday, May 8, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix would dazzle attendees who traveled from far and wide to witness the newest addition to F1’s Grand Prix calendar. Current world champion, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing, pulled off a convincing victory over Ferarri’s Charles Leclerc in the highly anticipated rubber match between the two top-ranked drivers. As aptly named “Mad Max” made his move to pass Leclerc and secure the lead on lap number nine, the Miami crowd erupted with excitement, with perhaps the loudest cheers coming from fans viewing the battle from the Red Bull Guest House.
When it was time for Red Bull fans and Guest House attendees to make their way back from the victorious day at the Miami International Autodrome, they had waiting for them a disco-inspired night of sound curated by Insomniac Events in tandem with Miami’s Club Space (yes, that Club Space, we know you’ve been there), “You Should be Dancing.” Soul Clap, Horse Meat Disco, and Channel Tres, who took over the main stage with his house-inspired hip-hop beats while debuting a new single, “6 A.M.,” proffered proper disco sounds in a fashion that simultaneously channeled the past, lived in the present, and faced the future of racing and dance/electronic’s intersection. “You Should be Dancing” was a suitable culmination to the Red Bull Guest House experience that served attendees an almost “’70s in Monaco” feel through disco-inspired beats that rocked well into the morning.
Red Bull Guest House delivered on its two missions: become the leading destination on and off the track for attendees of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix and seamlessly blend the modern racing lifestyle with influence and from the sport’s golden era in the 1960’s and 1970’s, through a dance/electronic lens. Guest House offered nonstop entertainment, culture, and hospitality throughout the Grand Prix weekend, owed in large part to Red Bull’s careful curation of the weekend’s events and entertainment. “I felt the pressure to represent,” Isabella Acker of Tigre Sounds reflected in an interview with Dancing Astronaut. “As a curator, you want to be positioning what is going to be viewed on a global platform…Red Bull is always pushing its limits…it’s an opportunity for Miami to show music beyond what is normally served to them.”
With the Miami Grand Prix set to become a sports and entertainment fixture of the city for the next decade, the fine points of how Red Bull Guest House will continue to evolve while redrawing the boundaries of racing lifestyle and heritage can be said to be equally as anticipated as the next Miami International Autodrome outing. But for this inaugural year, it was a P1 finish for the Red Bull team, both on and off the new Miami circuit.
Featured image: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool