Rolling Loud crowds swarm in bringing with them COVID concerns, road closures

Rolling Loud fans converged on Miami Gardens in droves, but when the music stops, Miami Beach is expecting them.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The three-day Rolling Loud Festival is sold out with a big opening night Friday at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Some in the swarm of revelers said they feel like they’ve waited forever for the return of one of the largest hip-hop festivals in the world. It was first moved because of the pandemic from May of 2020 to February of 2021 then moved again to this weekend. One group said they traveled all the way from the Bay Area, near San Francisco, California.

It’s the rollicking rap and hip-hop event that draws tens of thousands of fans and some of the biggest names in music.

But that big draw could be a concern now that COVID-19 cases are spiking again in south Florida.

Many fans said they were vaccinated and others said they had their masks with them. Still, there didn’t seem to be any COVID-19 protocols in place planned by organizers.

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Despite multiple attempts, no one from Rolling Loud got back to Local 10 News with our questions COVID protocols and it didn’t appear there were any guidelines on the Rolling Loud festival’s website.

For those who don’t have a vaccine, but want to get one, a pop up site is being set up by the Florida Department of Health on the grounds of the festival. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered and no appointment is required, organizers said.

Vaccines will be available Saturday and Sunday, from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Meanwhile, Miami Beach officials have plans in place for more police presence and restricted traffic since the city is expecting what Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called a “high-impact weekend.”

Police officers, he said, will be on 12 hour shifts and they will be joined by law enforcement rom other cities along with code officers and goodwill ambassadors.

Traffic closures and changes in some traffic patterns can be expected in Miami Beach through Sunday, Gelber said.

  • One eastbound lane will be closed on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways to safely accommodate license plate readers. Starting at 9:30 p.m. Friday, the mayor said license plate readers will be in place along both causeways until early morning Saturday.
  • Most of the eastern end of the Flamingo Park area and the northern edge of the South of Fifth neighborhood will be closed.
  • Side streets between Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive will also be closed.
  • There will also be some partial daily lane closures for eastbound traffic along the 5th street and 41st street corridors beginning Friday at 4 p.m.

For real time traffic updates from Miami Beach via text message, text MBtraffic to 888777. There’s also a traffic page on the city’s website.

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local