Inside Rapture: Behind the Scenes of Miami’s Premier Underground Festival

Lauren Krieger

The creators of Rapture Festival share their thoughts after a second successful year.

Starting a brand new festival is always an incredible undertaking; the logistics, location, and lineup decisions all requiring vast amounts of thought, time, and work. Rapture Festival, only on its second year, has proven that with the right energy behind it, the results will be worth all of the effort. Located at the Historic Virginia Key Park in Miami, Rapture Festival is aimed at connecting artists and audiences with a beautiful natural environment and real, deep, underground electronic music.

Taking place during Miami Music Week, Rapture was created to offer a place for the the true connection that is built through authentic electronic music and nature, with the music as the focus and passion as the driving force. All the energy that was put into the event could be felt throughout, with positive vibes evident from the vendors to the crowd. This was the atmosphere that I have known and loved, that which makes the electronic music scene so special (You can read more on my thoughts here). I seldom saw people with their phones out, no selfies or eyes being sucked into their screens. Instead the dancing was fluid, the floors were packed, the energy was peaceful and appreciative, grateful and open. Here is a place where you could spend time staring at the beautiful beach while the sun set, relaxing while the steady sound of beats flowed behind you, then wander up the sandy path back to the creatively decorated stages where you were surrounded by progressive rhythms, beautiful melodies, and never ending flow.

Everyone that I talked to said that the second year was even better than the first. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Chris Lavado

Excited to learn more about the efforts put behind this project, I was grateful to catch up with the people behind Rapture Festival, Youssef and Misha:

How did the idea for Rapture Festival begin?

Youssef: Rapture was born out of pure passion and a state of mind that was uncompromisable to the vision – it felt like Miami was lacking something we could provide. After doing a huge number of events for over a decade, there came a time when it was possible to create this huge platform to protect and develop the things we love: true music, mother nature and a lifestyle shared with like minded fans. Honestly, like most ideas, it all came at once, but holding on to it and leaving everything else behind was the difficult part.

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Valters Boze

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Valters Bose

What makes Rapture Festival special?

Misha: The atmosphere that was created elevated by all these amazing fans sharing our vision was very special. Also having it at the most stunning historic location in Miami as if untouched by civilization was the icing on the cake.

Seeing all these people in total unity for a day is something impossible to plan… it’s magic when you see it come together.

What do you look for in DJs and artists for the lineup?

Youssef: We don’t necessarily go by an artist’s popularity, but rather seek artists that are distinctive and true to their craft. Their uniqueness and style is what really matters to us. It’s also amazing when artists share our mission to encourage environmental awareness. The support in that regard has been amazing.

Photo: Valters Boze

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Chris Lavado

Photo: Valters Boze

What do you think are the most important aspects of a great festival?

Misha: The experience, the message behind it and the soul of the festival.

It should feel like you’ve entered a world you’ve never seen before.

Photo: Chris Lavado

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Valters Boze

Photo: Chris Lavado

How did the experience differ from the first year to the second year?

Youssef: We’re glad to have improved in our organization and the experience of the festival, thanks to our incredible team and many new faces that have joined Rapture this year. We also welcomed lots of new immensely gifted artists to the Rapture family. Our media partners Mixmag and BE-AT.TV who helped shed light on our festival have been incredible to work with as well.

Misha: We’re also proud to have improved our focus on environmental awareness, live performance artists, as well as our Wellness Center in partnership with The Banyan House, where people can take a step into the spiritual part of the festival. It’s something we plan to keep expanding on year after year.

What were some of your favorite moments?

Youssef: It’s hard to say for us. Every single moment was special.

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Stephen Bondio

Photo: Chris Lavado

See you next year!

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