Thousands Flock to the Miami Arena For Soul Beach Music Festival Sponsored by Verizon

MIAMI - Soul music fans from across the country, including 14 sweepstakes winners, have traveled to Miami to move to the sounds of neoclassic soul music and party at the city's beaches, pools and nightclubs during the Soul Beach Music Festival Sponsored by Verizon.

The Verizon sweepstakes winners are enjoying themselves in Miami with travel, lodging and concert tickets courtesy of the telecommunications giant. The winners are from California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Florida and Washington, D.C. Among the 14 are five sweepstakes winners: Denise Harris from Richmond, Va.; Jerina Harris from Boston, Mass.; Celeste Scott and Sharon Wright from Baltimore, Md., and George Toran from Tampa, Fla.

''This is the most ambitious project we've undertaken to date,'' said Gregory R. Smith, Verizon's director of multicultural marketing. ''Our goal is to deliver a great time, but also to connect with a market segment that we recognize as dynamic and powerful. We'll use the festival to get to know each other better. Verizon is a national company, a national brand, and we want the fans of soul music to know we're here,'' Smith said.

''Our research shows that when Verizon reaches out to and makes a connection with our African American customers, for example, we form a bond of loyalty that is valuable to both Verzion and our customers,'' Smith said. ''By sponsoring the Soul Beach Music Festival, Verizon is delivering a cultural experience that demonstrates our appreciation of diversity.''

Thousands of fans have purchased tickets to the three main-stage concerts originally slated for the Orange Bowl this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but moved indoors to the Miami Arena due to predictions of inclement weather. Between concerts, there will be pool parties, beach contests, comedy shows and nightclub parties.

An The first concert with India Arie, Angie Stone, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly is tonight. On Friday night, Musiq Soul Child, Ron Isley and the Isley Brothers and Erykah Badu will perform, and on Saturday, headliners include Eric Benet, Jill Scott and the Gap Band. Post-concert nightclub events are scheduled each night.

The event ends Sunday with a gospel concert and brunch, featuring Donni McClurkin and local gospel artists.

The festival was put together by Mark Adkins and Tony Rome of AR Entertainment Marketing. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or at all Florida Ticketmaster locations.


Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com