The first person Ryan Heras contacted to pitch his idea for an electronic-and-cultural music festival he wants to bring to Siesta Key was Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson.
His plan is in its infancy, he explained, but he wanted to get the conversation started with the island community, which he discovered after doing a Google search for the perfect beach to showcase the club music and culture of Ibiza, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea.
“I would need a lot more information before I could share any logical thought,” Patterson responded to Heras’ email.
He said it’s still too early for him to share his complete vision, but the Miami resident has the backing of Monza Ibiza Records, a Spanish record label, and is in talks with Diageo, the alcohol distributor behind brands such as José Cuervo, to help share the financing and preparation for what he sees as an event that will draw 10,000 people to Siesta.
“When I get feedback I’ll really start thinking about the numbers,” Heras said. “Until then, it’s very much in limbo.”
Ibiza Rocks is a similar festival held in Spain since 2005. Musical artists including the Arctic Monkeys and the Kaiser Chiefs have played the event to attract a wider audience to the music of Ibiza, which Heras aims to do with a festival on Siesta Key. He said record-label connections in Miami could help secure a popular artist to do the same in Sarasota.
The month of November, which is usually slow for tourism on Siesta, is the time in which Heras would like to plan the event. He explained that there is another Ibiza-inspired music festival in South Florida in the fall, which could provide runoff attendance.
“I think he was trying to go behind the scenes and see if it would be worth the effort,” Patterson said. With permits required for nearly everything, all the way down to raking seaweed off of Siesta Beach, planning big events can become expensive and take years — such as the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting competition, Patterson said during a phone interview.
“It would require some mechanism for moving a large amount of people, like buses,” Patterson said. “It’s definitely not a slam dunk.”
Contact Alex Mahadevan at [email protected].