No word can elicit a universally euphoric reaction better than “free.” From game-day merch giveaways to bottomless brunches on work’s dime, everything is better when the price is zero. But during the decadent Miami Art Week — when cover charges are as common as celeb sightings — finding an event that doesn’t require the equivalent of a car payment is akin to stumbling upon a pot of gold.
That’s why we’ve compiled this exhaustive list of Art Basel 2018’s free and worthy music shindigs. Who knows? You might even end up rubbing elbows with A$AP or Kim Kardashian. Stranger things have happened, like the time Usher charged his phone in a woman’s vagina (yes, that was real and, no, we still haven’t accepted it).
Hive Basel 2018 Cocktail and Culinary Village. Take a break from art-watching and stop by Hive, an art-focused food-and-drink village in Wynwood. During Miami Art Week, the pop-up lounge will sling cocktails, serve a selection of bites from local restaurants, and offer rotating live music performances and art installations. Plus, enjoy daily mixology presentations via the Behind the Bar Series, where Miami mixologists will school guests on how to craft the perfect drink. RSVP to the all-day, all-night lounge and receive a free drink. 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday and Friday, December 6 and 7; noon to 5 a.m. Saturday, December 8; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, December 9, at Wynwood Marketplace, 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; hivewynwood.com. Free drink with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
The Wynwood Yard
Photo by Masson Liang
Basel at the Yard: Disco Soul.Disco promises to make sweet love to soul during Prism Creative Group’s Thursday-night get-down. DJ Gavin Turek will headline this dance-worthy sesh with a nu-disco vibe. Other featured acts include local singer Yoli Mayor and jazz star Shira Lee. The Yard will be stacked with pop-ups serving food and drinks for purchase. 7 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., MIami; 305-351-0366; thewynwoodyard.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
UofArts I’m Here Waiting for You. The University of the Arts in Philadelphia has traveled all the way from the home of America’s beloved cheesesteaks to throw an aesthetic-heavy hotel takeover in the 305. The National Hotel in South Beach will be revamped for a reception that spotlights neon rooftop installations, video projection on the hotel façade, and photography installations on the first floor. Live performances by artist-alums of UArts will provide entertainment to accompany the school’s artwork to. Plus, every attendee receives a free drink. 8 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at the National Hotel, 1677 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-532-2311; nationalhotel.com. Free admission includes a complimentary drink with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Soul Basel: Fifth-Annual Urban Soul Experience. Think food, music, and entertainment as a backdrop to two days of Soul Basel’s finest contemporary and street art. Offering “old-school expertise coupled with millennial energy,” the fest is free and open to all. This is Soul Basel’s fifth year putting on the Urban Soul Experience, and it’s bound to be a grand, funky time. 6 p.m. Friday, December 7, and noon Saturday, December 8, at 925 NW Second Ct., Miami; firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Sixth-Annual Basel House Mural Festival. Street art, beats, vendors, and new-age global installations unite for the sixth round of Basel House’s mural festival. Expect 30,000 square feet of wall space covered in murals and installations. Artisan vendors, mixologists, and food trucks will be on hand for guests seeking tasty bites and booze while browsing the expansive art on display. Live painting, music, and late-night DJs will provide the beats, while a Saturday-night art battle will go down alongside a skating vert ramp and a marketplace. Score a free drink if you RSVP in advance and check in as one of the first 500 guests. 3 p.m. Friday, December 7, 1 p.m. Saturday, December 8, and 1 p.m. Sunday, December 9, at RC Cola Plant, 550 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Admission is free.
An Evening With Gatsby at Art Basel. No, Leonardo DiCaprio won’t be hosting this event, but that’s OK, because one of L.A.’s celeb producers and head of Rorschach Music Group — Greg Gatsby — will be the man of the hour. Works on display come courtesy of a collaboration between Xhibit Arts and John Fairchild. DJs Gatsby and Richard Fraioli will spin throughout the night. There’s limited space inside this special hot/cold venue, so RSVP is required. 10 p.m. Saturday, December 8, at Drinkhouse Fire & Ice Bar, 1672 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-2423; sobefireice.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Questlove (DJ set). Beloved by locals and tucked in an area of Miami still unknown to most tourists, the Anderson will probably serve as a refuge for residents looking to party during the week but not necessarily be in the thick of the Basel mass. The 79th Street bar will thank its loyal patrons by hosting a DJ set by Roots frontman Questlove. RSVP is required to this hot ticket. 10 p.m. Saturday, December 8, at the Anderson, 709 NE 79th St., Miami; 305-757-3368; theandersonmiami.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Photo by Glen Han
Boys Noize and Friends. Because the number of free parties during Miami Art Week is seemingly on the decline, it’s refreshing to see German DJ/producer Boys Noize return to 1-800-Lucky to spin for the masses — and all you have to do is RSVP. On any given night, 1-800-Lucky is beyond packed, so arrive early or you’ll be forced to listen to Alex Ridha’s set from the street. 11 p.m. Saturday, December 8, at 1-800-Lucky, 143 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-768-9826; 1800lucky.com. Admission is free with RSVP via boysnoizefriends.splashthat.com.
A Very Yachty Christmas. Donate a toy to a local kid in need and get a free beer. It’s a win-win! Yacht Rock Miami and MIA Beer Company have teamed up for A Very Yachty Christmas, hosted by veteran local DJs Juan Luv and Alex Gutierrez (AKA Captain G). The DJs have mastered the art of ’70s-to-’80s-esque “yacht rock,” which often features the likes of the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and Toto. So enjoy your voyage full of beer and tunes. Noon Sunday, December 9, at MIA Beer Company, 10400 NW 33rd St., #150, Miami; facebook.com. Admission is free.
Jose D. Duran and Celia Almeida contributed to this list.