Behind The Scenes: Hard Rock’s Keith Sheldon On Curating The Soundtrack And Experience In Year 2 Of The F1 Miami GP

Hard Rock beach club F1 GP

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Keith Sheldon, the President Of Entertainment for Hard Rock International, Seminole Gaming, is in charge of the enormous task of curating the entertainment experience at Hard Rock Stadium during the F1 Miami weekend, which includes booking performances from international superstars the Jonas Brothers, DJ Tiesto, Cedric Gervais, Wisin Y Yandel and many more.

Ahead of the big race week, we sat down with Sheldon to discuss the return and expansion of the iconic Hard Rock Beach Club and how this year’s event is looking to surpass the high expectations set from the success of last year.

The F1 Miami GP at the Hard Rock stadium was a big success last year. This year is the second year of Hard Rock’s partnership with F1, how do you follow up on the success from last year from an entertainment standpoint?

Keith Sheldon: “Believe it or not, last year we only had about four months, five months to plan the inaugural race. A lot of uncertainty going into the race about, you know, what was going to be there, how things were going to perform, how we’re going to be situated at the track. So we had a lot of key learnings coming off of last year, and believe it or not, this year we’re simply going to look to raise the bar even further.

“One of the key takeaways that we had as the race concluded last year, was having conversations with everybody from to Miami GP to F1 parent company, Liberty Media, and everybody was talking about Hard Rock Beach and how the sounds coming from Hard Rock Beach truly became the soundtrack of race Weekend. So as we thought about that and our role within the broader race ecosystem and what was happening on campus, we wanted to bring a lot of that flavor to the rest of the track and make sure that we were continuing to bring a level entertainment in and make sure that we were providing that great soundtrack to the race itself.”

The talent you’ve brought to perform during race weekend all have different sounds. How important is it to have a diverse mix of sounds at an event like this?

Sheldon: “Really, when you think about any of the races on the F-1 circuit, whether you’re a race fan or not, the thing that makes them so special and unique is the sense of place. No matter where you are, whether you’re in Austin or Monaco or Mexico City, right, there’s something unique at each race because of where you are. And for South Florida, it’s all about that South Florida culture, that Miami culture, the music, the vibe, the celebrity, the spectacle. And we want to bring all of that. It’s kind of like a diverse melting pot to what we’re doing at the beach.

“When you think about Miami, you think about pop culture, you think about the vibrant music scene, and you think about diversity, and we wanted the makeup of our stage and what our performers look like to reflect the diversity of the geography of where we’re operating in. So we have arguably one of the biggest pop acts of our generation, the Jonas Brothers performing, you have arguably the greatest reggaeton duo of all time with Wisin y Yandel, You have arguably the greatest DJ of all time in Tiesto, all taking the stage at Hard Rock Beach Club, plus bringing in internationally known DJs like Cedric Gervais, who calls Miami home and is a superstar DJ in his own right, but again, it gives us that sense of place by having that Miami culture infused into what we’re doing at the Beach Club.”

You said you had four months to plan the inaugural race, when did you start developing this year’s show?

Sheldon: “I’ve been having conversations with Cedric Gervais from the week after the race ended all the way up until this week, and he’s been a great sounding board as it related to the look and feel of Beach Club. How could we be doing things differently to enhance the experience from a music perspective? He’s also a race fan, so what could we be doing and working hand in hand with Miami GP and enhancing the space? So, if you think about it, when you came to the race last year, the cabanas were set a little bit closer to the stage. You had the cabanas sitting out there. You also had the GA section in front of the stage.

“This year, so many people were interested in coming to that space that we made that GA footprint even bigger. The pools are still there, but we’ve added more cabanas. We’ve pushed the cabanas back to the perimeter of the track. So essentially, you can be up in your cabana on the second level watching turns 11,12,and, 13 as the cars whiz past, and then turn around and see an incredible performance on stage all in the same hour, which to me is one of the best racing experiences in the entire world.”

Was it easier to plan the show this time around, or has it been more difficult?

Sheldon: “I think in year one, we might have been a little bit naive, and in year two we knew what a gargantuan task we had ahead of us, but we also became more familiar with some of our partners. I think the artists were more attracted to performing at the space. Obviously, we’ve received incredible support from F-1 in Miami GP. Everyone from Mr. Ross to Tom Garfinkle, jeremy Walls at the Dolphins organization have really doubled down their efforts with us to make sure that everything that Hard Rock represents from an entertainment perspective. Since music has been in our DNA for 50 plus years, that we’re infusing that at the track and introducing that Hard Rock flavor to the entire campus.”

What message do you have for fans who are looking to attend race week in Miami for the first time?

Sheldon: “Hopefully, that fan is starting their journey by staying at the guitar hotel. We have Wisin and Yandell on Thursday night performing an intimate show at Hard Rock Live. On Friday night, we have the Jonas Brothers performing an intimate show, both obviously sold out. On Saturday, we have a pool party that the Red Bull racing team is coming to, and the Red Bull stunt team is going to be doing probably some type of epic jump during that.

“We’ll also have a superstar DJ at that event. So a lot happening at Hard Rock, the property itself, but we’re bringing customers over the property, taking them to Hard Rock Beach Club, the Paddocks, our cafe footprint that also exists on the Miami GP campus space , and so for that customer, I would recommend that they walk around, get a taste of all that the campus has to offer. But really, when the music starts and it’s race time, make sure that they have their seat in their cabana or they’re sitting by the pool at the Hard Rock Beach Club to see some truly amazing performers grace our stage before a great few hours of racing.”

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Brobible sports editor. Jorge is a Miami native and lifelong Heat fan. He has been covering the NBA, MLB and NFL professionally for almost 10 years, specializing in digital media. Email: