NOTE: To those record label reps, artists, remixers, and producers’ parties that I wasn’t able to attend and therefore cover for DanceMusic.About.com, please know that I had the best of intentions to stop by for a little while, but WMC being WMC, I encountered some snags, set-backs and few other unforeseen mishaps. Nonetheless, here’s my recap of a week that was, without a doubt, my best WMC to date.
‘The devil is in the details.’
For a journalist covering WMC, I know that I, for one, feel like a kid in a candy store when it comes to deciding which events, panel-seminars, or parties that I’d like to attend. For my second successive WMC, I chose events that were a little bit off the beaten path and perhaps not as popular as some of the more commercialized fanfare, although I did go to my first Ultra Music Festival on Saturday. All in all, the events and parties that I was able to attend were a great deal of fun and a learning experience, too.
The weather during this year’s WMC was idyllic as the Mercury frequently hovered around 75* during the day and the mid-60s at night, and although it rained- correction, monsooned for half a day towards the end of the week, postponing but a few outdoor events, overall the general mood of party-goers was very positive.
I arrived the day before the official kick-off of WMC so as to acclimate myself mentally as well as physically for the onslaught of standing, dancing, and walking to many events. I was especially eager to try out Miami-Dade County's upgraded bus transit system, as I had researched that there was a new bus route (Bus 150, Airport Beach Flyer) that originated from Miami International and made intermittent stops along its designated route. Next year, if you’re not in a rush, this is your best bet. The hour-long ride cost me $2.35 versus taking a cab, which would have seen me shell out in excess of $35!!
That night, I met up with a (road) cycling buddy and restaurateur who moved down to Miami (from Yonkers) several years ago with his wife. He manages the excellent Italian restaurant, Escopazzo, located a few blocks down from where I was staying on Washington Avenue. There, chef and owner Giancarla Bodoni, observing the chatty nature of my friend and I, invited me to stay and try one of her signature dishes that featured thick strands of linguini surrounded by muscles’ and clams, in addition to several glasses of the house wine, which was a Pinot Grigio, a favorite of mine!
‘Solid As A Rock,’—The ‘Rock of Eden’
First, a big thumbs-up to the organizers of the WMC for choosing the lavish and beautiful host hotel that was the Eden Roc Renaissance. While I hadn’t previously set foot in this expansive beauty, registering for WMC went rather well. After procuring my press credentials followed by my picking up the commemorative 25th anniversary DJ bag that contained a bevy of promotional paraphernalia, I then went off to explore the various sights and sounds that this seemingly vast hotel had to offer.
In the main lobby, an array of rotating DJs spun hour-long sets as throngs of beautiful people either milled around drinking an afternoon cocktail or were heading out toward the back of the Eden Roc, to go check the opening salvo of DJs towards the pool and beachfront areas.
I had about 90-minutes to kill before I was to go in search of my first panel, “Green Standard In The Music Industry,” so I decided to follow a small processional of newly-registered attendees to the back of the Eden Roc, as a rumble of bass could be heard. As I followed the sound of the boom-boom beats, enjoying the sun’s warm rays on high, I almost missed bumping into the beautiful singer/songwriter Michelle Shaprow. She and I have kept in touch since we met at my first WMC in 2009. We embraced, and Michelle happily took a picture with me.
Let The Festivities Commence
My Tuesday night commenced at Cameo, which was the last club I attended for my first WMC in 2009. On this night it was the “Defected In The House & Strictly Rhythm” party, featuring a wealth of some of the finest House mavericks on record, pun intended: Riva Starr, ATFC, and Chocolate Puma, to name a select few. I witnessed sets from the likes of Eddie Thoneick, David Penn, Quentin Harris, and a live PA featuring singer Rae.
Cameo is one of my favorite venues because the unique space is not only capable of housing several hundred people in a rather intimate setting, but there’s the main dancefloor on the first level and a second level that wraps around and allows an unobstructed view of the DJ's pulpit. There’s also an additional upstairs backroom that, when the doors are closed, becomes its own club space. I wandered back there and heard part of Aaron Ross’, Baggi Begovic’s, DJ Yass’, and Ben Westbeech’s sets.
Around 2am I decided that I would try getting into club Dream, located a block away, to catch the exclusive 4-hour set of the one and only Markus Schulz. Unfortunately, I hit my first snafu when I was denied entrance and was told by the door person that there wasn’t a guest list or a press list. Either way, the claim was that I wasn’t on it, end of story, exit stage left. I considered trying to get back into Cameo but when I walked back over, the line surrounding the venue was quite large. So I walked back to the hotel and called it a night.