Winter Music Conference Hits Miami Full Force

The Winter Music Conference (WMC) kicks off its 27th year in Miami on Friday, where some of the hottest and most eclectic mashups of music, spun by some of the world’s most prominent DJs will be celebrated.

From Electro, Dubstep, Moombahton, Electro Tango, and Nu-disco, this newly expanded 10-day fest will surely pump up its estimated 100,000, mostly under 30 year old dance-music fans, at over 400 electric-music ragers around the city.

“From humble beginnings WMC has become a taste making and trend setting forum for this music.  Major publications, websites, fans, and bloggers are coming to see who’s going to the be the next so and so. There’s no doubting anymore the this music is the biggest in the world. It’s surpassed hip hop,” says Seth Combs, a music critic who’s written for such publications as Spin and The Hollywood Reporter.

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Although regarded as the pre-eminent platform in the industry for launching new music, technology and trends aka a “conference for professionals,” it’s sure to be the parties people will come to Miami for.

Unlike any music scene in the US, club-music will spin in every nook and cranny of the city. From pools to hotel lobbies, rooftops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, yachts, and villas—the city will be thumping.

At $495, a WMC badge will grant attendees free access to major throwdowns such as the opening party with Boris at Space (March 16,) “Be Yourself” with Danny Tenaglia poolside at the Surfcomber (March 17,)“Welcome to Miami” with Sander Kleinenberg and friends at Nikki Beach (March 21,) “Fixed with Simian” Mobile Disco at the Vagabond (March 23) and “Om: Miami 2012” with Maxxi Soundsystem at Villa 221 (March 24.)

For those folks awake enough to appreciate the seminars and conferences, (starting at noon daily) for the first time, WMC moves to the beach. A tent will house the workshops set up at Beachplex (21st and Collins; the center of South Beach,) offering subjects as wide-ranging as Distribution, Media, Foreign Markets, and Revenue Streams.

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WMC also has something for the collectors--with the “International Records Collector Show” on March 24—bringing together collectors, diggers, and renowned dealers from all over the world for a day of music mania in Miami Beach.

The Latino community is heartedly represented with some of music’s biggest behind the scenes producers.  VP’s like Ray De La Garza, Vice President of Programming for Radio Disney, Spanish born Bruno Del Granado, the man behind the launch of MTV Latino in 1993; and novelist, pianist, TV host and executive Editor for Latin Content and Programming for Billboard Leila Cobo.

Founded in 1985 by then DJs and Record Pool Directors Louis Possenti and Bill Kelly,  today the conference is referred to by many as the Olympics for DJs and clubbers alike, giving birth to a slew of similar fests since it’s inception-- like the newest DEMF aka “Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival” which takes place each Memorial Day since 2000.  And the Ultra Music Festival, which started in 1999, and takes place across town in Miami.

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“WMC is the most massive place to see and be seen for DJs showing off spinning skills and producers looking to sign new talent,” says 91X DJ Michael Halloran, a sometimes club DJ, and personal friend of “kick-ass electro guys from Detroit.”
“But it will never match the underground hipness of EMF in Detroit,” he continued.  “Detroit is the birthplace of electronic music.”

One of the most unique performers to attend WMC this year is the talented Argentine composer Jimena Fama, the leader of the band Tango Conspiracy.

Described as some of the sexiest new music, it’s a combo of electronic electro dub mixed with Tango all using a live band. Fama will be performing March 23 at PAZ.

“WMC is important to me because I’ve been a DJ with this genre called ‘House’ music since my days at Studio 54 in New York,” said Richard Vasquez aka DJ Dr. Love.
“To now see it on the world stage is very gratifying to me.  It’s a sophisticated music grounded in unity, with a message of being yourself, being open, dancing, and enjoying inner peace through the music.”

Vasquez will be spinning live at Sushi Samba on March 22 from 9pm to 1am with his event called “Eat My Beats.”

Rebekah Sager is a writer in San Diego, Calif.  You can reach her via Twitter @ShoplocalSD

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