Published on January 17th, 2019 | by Jae Monique


Jazz in the Gardens 2019: Interview with Mayor Oliver Gilbert

Jazz in the Gardens, presented by the City of Miami Gardens, is considered to be the “fastest growing jazz and R&B festival in the U.S.” The festival has a highly acclaimed lineup and is hosted by radio personality Rickey Smiley. Some of the headliners include Lionel Richie, Blackstreet, and En Vogue.

In an interview with Mayor Oliver Gilbert, he shared what to expect from Jazz in the Gardens 2019 and the most memorable festival so far.

Jae Monique: When did the Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival start?

Mayor Oliver Gilbert: The first Jazz in the Gardens Festival started in 2004 and it wasn’t very big. We’ve only been a city since 2003 so a year in, the first city council and city mayor created the Jazz in the Gardens concert and they did a couple hundred people out in the parking lot. The persistence, the environment, and the atmosphere that was created had grown the festival to thousands. It’s something that people come to from all around the country and all around the world.

JM: What sparked the interest to have Jazz in the Gardens in Miami Gardens?

Gilbert: Part of it was finding a way to let people know that we were here. When you’re an area and you’re all these different neighborhoods, and then all of a sudden you’re a city, it’s very difficult to actually create an identity. Jazz in the Gardens is the ability to create an identity as the city of Miami Gardens then also at the same time, provide an opportunity for residents to come out and socialize, be entertained, and have fun together.

JM: Who are the headliners for 2019?

Gilbert: This year, our headliners are Lionel Richie, Teddy Riley and Friends, Jagged Edge, Blackstreet, Stephanie Mills, En Vogue, Bobby Brown, and Maysa.

JM: What can we expect from the music festival this year?

Gilbert: The concert on stage is just a piece of Jazz in the Gardens. The concert on stage is nothing like the party in the audience whether you come alone or with someone else. You’re going to dance, you’re going to have fun, you’re going to go to the food court, you’re going to get you a drink, enjoy the weather. The feeling that we give you is what’s growing this festival.

JM: What has been the most memorable music festival so far?

Gilbert: The most memorable for me has been Fantasia singing “Total Praise.” Mary J was extraordinary. She’s been there several times and she’s always a crowd favorite. It just really depends on what you like. One of the interesting things is the Jazz artists. I remember when we had Kenny G. Kenny G held a note all the way from the stage. He walked all the way to the back of the crowd holding the same note. It was the most impressive exhibition of talent and ability. It was an extraordinary moment.

JM: What’s it like in the day of the life of being the Mayor?

Gilbert: It’s diversity and it’s variety. I’m not just the Mayor of Miami Gardens. Miami Gardens is my home town, I was born and raised here. So, walking through Wal-Mart is a meeting for me because I’m going to stop and talk and I’m going to answer all your questions. It’s variety and it’s exciting. I’m encouraged everyday because I get to do stuff for people I grew up with. I live with 113,000 of my neighbors. I’m the kid who grew up in these streets and became the Mayor.

JM: Where can everyone get tickets?

Gilbert: You can get tickets at You can go to for more information.

Links and social media:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Contributing Editor Co-host and contributor to multiple media outlets. Interviewed celebs including Columbus Short, Darrin Henson, Claudia Jordan, Cocoa Brown and more.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑