MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Revelers are enjoying a beach bash in South Beach headlined by the Dave Matthews Band, ahead of a big football weekend, as South Florida gets ready to ring in 2019.
Hundreds of concertgoers flocked to the venue on the sand off Ocean Drive, as the Capital One Beach Bash got underway, Friday evening.
Hours later, 7News cameras captured Dave Matthews, bathed in purple and reddish lights, as he rocked the crowd. He kicked off his set at around 8:45 p.m.
But before the big act took the stage, pep rallies for both teams squaring off in Saturday’s Orange Bowl, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Alabama Crimson Tide, got revelers in a festive mood.
Alabama and Oklahoma fans swarmed the beach, mixing in with other partiers.
“We are so excited. We are super pumped,” said an Oklahoma fan. “Boomer Sooners!”
“It’s a lot of fun, a lot of people out here,” said a man wearing a dark red Oklahoma visor. “It looks like everybody’s having a great time.”
The celebration is already in progress in the rest of South Beach. 7News cameras captured large crowds walking down Ocean Drive
The iconic strip will remain closed to vehicular traffic until 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
Rain sent crowds running for cover, but the soggy weather was unable to dampen revelers’ spirits.
One man pointed out the silver lining.
“It’s still 75 degrees out I’ll take it,” he said.
A woman in a Crimson Tide poncho took the wet weather in stride.
“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s raining at home, too,” she said.
For a man wearing a Crimson Tide jersey and sunglasses at night, Friday night’s festivities were a homecoming of sorts.
“Born in Miami, transplanted to Alabama, Alabama-bred fan,” he said. “Glad to be home.”
He then showed 7News a mason jar.
“We like to call it ‘apple pie.’ It’s just a drink,” he said as he unscrewed the top and took a gulp.
For some revelers, Friday’s festivities are a prelude to an array of star-studded New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Pitbull, Mr. 305 himself, is set to perform Monday night at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami, where the Big Orange will drop from the InterContinental Hotel at the stroke of midnight.
Meanwhile, Tiffany Haddish aims to elicit big laughs at the James L. Knight Center, also in downtown Miami.
Back in Miami Beach, the upscale Faena Hotel hopes revelers looking for posh prix-fixe dinners and glammed-up decadence make it their New Year’s Eve destination.
“Where else are you going to party with a big, woolly mammoth, fireworks and a Grammy Award-winning artist?” said Faena Hotel spokesperson Alisha Talbot.
Up north at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, even after midnight on New Year’s. Several parties are scheduled at the popular Broward resort.
Just after 10 p.m., 7News cameras captured several tour buses picking up fans who were part of the celebration.
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