Winter is ending and that means it’s time for another annual Winter Music Conference. As one of the biggest events on the Miami Beach social calendar, music industry professionals from all around the world will be converging on the Beach for ten days this month to learn tips of the trade, find out what sounds will be “in” this year, to show off their talents, and be noticed by others.
Bill Kelly and Louis Possenti, two DJs who owned a lucrative music pool, started the very first Winter Music Conference. Nearly 100 music professionals, such as record producers, DJs, artists and other media, met for the very first annual conference at the Marriott Hotel and Marina in Fort Lauderdale in February 1986. They discussed the emerging trends in the electronic and house genres at that time. The first few Conferences attracted more Europeans than Americans, as the aforementioned genres weren’t in the mainstream then. As the event grew, so did the attendance, from Europeans, Americans, and others from all over the world. South Beach started playing host to the event in the mid-1990s and most industry events are held at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr.).
The event has grown over the years, from 30,000 visitors throughout the whole week back in 2001 to over 100,000 visitors in 2013. The Winter Music Conference organizers boast almost complete worldwide interest, with website hits from 209 different nations in the past year. Over 2100 artists and DJs participated in last year’s Conference, and over 3500 music industry professionals were there to promote their clients and take notice of new talent.
Highlights of this year’s Winter Music Conference include the International Dance Music Awards, honoring the best of the best in electronic and house music. These awards are well-regarded by industry professionals and a career can be made just from a well-deserved win and a blowout performance at this event. Another fun event is the VJ Challenge, in which VJs from all over the world compete against each other, one-on-one, in the categories of audio only and audio and video. A fan favorite is the two-day DJ Spin-Off. On the first day, DJs compete in the category of beat matching, with scratching taking center stage on the second day. This event will be hosted by TJ Mizell (Jam Master Jay’s son) and Naughty Natalia. A featured Q&A session will also be held with special guest, Dutch DJ-producer Hardwell (Robbert van de Corput).
If you love to party with some good beats, there are a few parties you can attend for free if you have a Winter Music Conference badge. These parties include the kick-off party at The Lounge 665 (Friday, March 21 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; 665 Washington Ave.); the Electric Beach Festival at Nikki Beach (Saturday, March 22 from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.; 1 Ocean Dr.); Def Mix at The Vagabond (Saturday, March 22 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; 30 NE 14th St.); and the NYC Deep Throwdown at Jazid (Monday, March 24 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; 1342 Washington Ave.). For more free dance events, and there are many more, view the full 2014 dance schedule at wintermusicconference.com.
It’s time to make a trip of it if you are going to come see what hundreds of thousands of people already know and love about the Winter Music Conference. Many hotels in South Beach are sold out; however, at press time there are a few that are recommended by the Conference organizers that still have rooms available. These are the The Freehand Miami (2727 Indian Creek Dr.; from $78/night); The Richmond (1757 Collins Ave.; from $369/night); Deauville Beach Resort (6701 Collins Ave.; from $179/night); The Palms Hotel & Spa (3025 Collins Ave.; from $330/night); and Grand Beach Hotel (4835 Collins Ave.; from $259/night). All hotels are within five miles of the Miami Beach Convention Center; the closest at just .2 miles away is The Richmond.
One can register by walking up to the front desks at the Miami Beach Convention Center for $495. If you are interested in attending certain remixing and editing workshops (for a full list, see wintermusicconference.com), they cost $75 a session. Admission to the International Dance Music Awards is included in your registration costs.
For more information, call (954) 563-4444 or e-mail either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.