In the wake of all the scheduling controversy between the Winter Music Conference (WMC) and the Ultra Music Festival (UMF) this year, I thought it would be a good idea to head back down to Miami to see what all the fuss was about.
Some Background The partnership between WMC and UMF had been mutually rewarding for the past 11 years, but due to scheduling and logistical difficulties this year, the two events could not be scheduled consecutively. Obviously, this created issues for many industry-related professionals and artists trying to make both events. Nevertheless, WMC 2011 continued on with great esteem and success.
This year the WMC was held at the Miami Beach Conference Center, which is where I made my first stop to pick up my badge and conference goodies. The process for pick up was both timely and efficient. I did not have to wait at all to secure my credentials.
The conference center, however, was massive. In fact, it felt as if the venue was somewhat empty. Even though the exhibits were grouped and strategically placed, the venue was overkill. Hopefully next year WMC will be hosted back at one of the resorts like in previous years.
The weather, however, was perfect. It really set the stage for all the events and shows. I must admit, Miami is the perfect location for such a wonderful gathering.
The panel sessions are by far the most informative and educational elements that WMC has to offer. There were over forty sessions offered. They’re especially good for newcomers and are a great place to ask both general and specific questions related to the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) industry. The topics cover a full scope of EDM; from how to get your song distributed worldwide to how to dress for your first gig.
I found myself attending as many sessions as I could manage. The session scheduling, however, was a bit frustrating. Most of the sessions started every 30 minutes, but could last for over an hour. Consequently, this caused me to have to jump around and miss a few things.
One session I did not miss, however, was the Q/A session with Beatport CEO Matthew Adell. His session was by far the most enlightening and engaging of the conference. Hopefully next year WMC can host him again. I highly recommend attending his Q/A.
In my opinion, Winter Music Conference needs to incorporate the word ‘PARTY’ somewhere in its name! Honestly, 80% of WMC is made up of parties – pools, clubs, and even retail stores host a plethora of artists and Djs alike. In fact, there are so many parties that it is impossible to attend and truly appreciate all of them.
Everywhere I went I was welcomed to the sounds of breaks, beats, and rhythms. The spring breakers were everywhere and were also just as captivated as me. I witnessed so many awesome parties, it would take a lifetime to give justice to them all. Honestly, at WMC there is no such thing as a bad party! However, there were a few that stuck out in my mind.
The best pool party was the Nervous Records showcase. Undoubtedly, the event should have commanded an award. The crowd was enormous and equally excited with the performances. The best club party, I must admit, was the Enmass Recordings event. Both Randy Boyer and Darude performed and hosted a stellar event. I was so sorry I wasn’t able to interview them due to scheduling conflicts, but hope to do so in the near future.
New Friends One of the benefits from side kicking with DanceMusic.About.com’s editor, Ron Slomowicz, was the access to all the talent.
My overall favorite experience of the conference was the interviews Ron and I conducted. I really enjoyed meeting so many seasoned artists and producers that I have idolized for years. I especially enjoyed our conversations with Matt Darey and Dave Dresden. Both were receptive and forthcoming to our questions and provided a nice insight into the life of a successful artist. Be sure to check out their interviews at Matt Darey and Dave Dresden to find out more about them.
Overall, WMC is a well-produced EDM summit. It contained all the magic that goes into a memorable experience and more. Like I said before, WMC parties are everything and then some. If there were only one reason to go back, it would definitely be for the parties! Hopefully, next year both WMC and UMF will be back together and the party shall continue on and on and on…
See you all next year!