Ultimate 2011 Moonfest Survival Guide

MoonFest is the craziest Halloween Party in South Florida. Last year 70,000 people descended onto Clematis St. and all by all accounts it will be as big or bigger this coming Saturday.
What to Expect from MoonFest
MoonFest is a Halloween costume party. The party is focused on the stage and live music on the 500 block of Clematis, however each establishment on Clematis will bring something to the party.
Some parts of Clematis St., specifically the 300 and 200 blocks, will be filled wall to wall with people. With all the costumes and music it can take 45 minutes to walk the five blocks of Clematis Street. If you don’t like crowds, and lots of loud music, it is very likely that you won’t enjoy MoonFest.
Traveling east, we have Respectables and The Lounge on the 500 block. Last year there were amusement park style rides on Quadrille and a DJ party on the 400 block. The 300 block will have parties at Roxy’s Pub and Off the Hookah. On the 200 block we’ll have Dr. FeelgoodsRoccos Tacos and Monarchy. These parties will be packed so if you plan on going, make sure you get in early. To the east Bradley’s and Gratify bring the party to the waterfront. Seeing that this is a big event the Don Lounge and Mystique may be open.
There will be drinks and food sold on the street. Again, get your food early – last year almost every restaurant ran out of food and had to shut down early.
MoonFest is not a child friendly event and as the night moves on the party gets progressively more crazy. Get a sitter for the evening.
The party goes until 2am, at which point the streets will be cleared so don’t expect to be out after that.Click here to view all my pictures of Moonfest over the last few years.
Getting in and out of MoonFest
There is no parking anywhere near downtown, so if at all possible, don’t bring your car. If you bring your car and arrive after 10pm, do not under any circumstances drive it east of Quadrille or north of Fern and expect to find parking.
The Kravis Center will be playing “Mamma Mia” starting at 8pm. This will cause extra congestion around Cityplace and down Okeechobee when it is letting out. If you’re leaving downtown between 10:30 and 12pm, it may be quicker to drive south on S Dixie Hwy to Belvedere or Southern Blvd and get onto I95 from there.
Enjoying MoonFest
With 70,000 people downtown, the absolute BEST way to enjoy MoonFest is to find a “base camp” away from Clematis St.
If you have a friend who lives in a condo downtown such as 610 Clematis, The Strand, The Whitney, City Palms, etc. invite yourself to their party and then plan to venture into Clematis every few hours to enjoy the party without having to get a drink or the urgency of having to find a restroom to empty your bladder.
If you have a boat, get in early and dock on the waterfront (and then call me so I can hang with you)!
Get R.I.P (VIP) MoonFest Tickets! For $50 (in advance) or $60 at the door you can have access to the VIP area on the 500 block. This includes a free buffet until midnight, open bar, and most attractively, bathrooms. The tickets are well worth the price.
The Music
The band to watch is our very own Dharmata. if you haven’t heard them before they are a Reggae/Rock mix with enough energy to get any party started. They will be performing inside Respectables at 8:30pm.
Also playing are: Million Young, Under every green tree, BROBRAH Nation, Sweet Chariots, Darling Sweets, Luna Rex, Hard Richards, Band in Heaven.
Over the last 17 years that MoonFest has been running it has generally been peaceful. Unfortunately, last year the event was marred by a couple stabbings and several other incidents in which the police and emergency vehicles were involved. These occurred around 2am and were centered around the 200 block of Clematis St. and the alleys behind the 200 block.
This year the organizers have taken steps to enlarge the party area, blocking off more streets and increasing the police presence.
  • A lot of the crowds are in the 300 and 200 blocks. The 500 block has the best music, the VIP area and fewer party animals. Focus your MoonFest experience here.
  • Don’t bring your own alcohol downtown.
  • Like any party there are rowdy elements, make sure you’re hanging with the right crowd
  • Unless you’re hardcore party animal stay away from the clubs. The long lines mixed with the crowds outside are a trouble spot
  • Get out early
  • And obviously pick a designated driver
Have a GREAT time at Moonfest, and PLEASE STAY SAFE!!!