The worldâ€™s biggest week of electronic music undergoes a two-week division
From Miami to Las Vegas
BY NATALIE HOLBROOK
DJ Ross One has his bags and his music packed BY NATALIE HOLBROOK
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Each year, nightlife gurus and electronic music lovers from Las Vegas and beyond eagerly count down the days until Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival, which have been held concurrently in Miami, since Ultraâ€™s 1999 debut. However, in November, everybody was shocked to learn that WMC would occur March 8-12 but UMF would carry on with its originally scheduled event March 25-27. At 26 years old, WMC is a five-day conference and exposition featuring intimate parties led by iconic DJs. In 2009 the three-day outdoor Ultra festival made the symbiotic relationshipâ€”which allows WMC badge-holders to attend UMF for freeâ€”official with a five-year contract to keep their event during WMC. However, a release issued by UMF on Nov. 18 that â€œdue to WMCâ€™s claim to us that they could not secure a convention host hotel on the last week of March to meet their facility requirements as a conference, they chose to go on the second week.â€? UMF did not follow WMC in the change because this yearâ€™s Calle Ocho Festival, which draws one million to downtown Miami during the second week of March, created space and financial issues. Response from the music community has been swift and passionate. Space Nightclub owner Louis Puig ranted via his blog just days after the announcement, â€œUltra [Music Festival] is trying to monopolize WMC by engaging exclusive contracts with all major DJs. WMC used to be about free parties with DJs and industry folks.â€? WMC owner Bill Kelly explained to MTV News that the loss of UMF in 2011 would â€œhurt a little bitâ€? but views it as a door to new endeavors. By all appearances, attendees are sticking it out with UMF because of Ultraâ€™s contract with big names such as TiĂŤsto, Deadmau5, headliners Armin van Buuren and even the band Duran Duran. â€œThe good parties are during Ultra week,â€? says Vegasâ€™ DJ Scotty Boy, who has attended both events since â€™04. â€œItâ€™ll be like the old days, where itâ€™s a big name in a small room and invite-only.â€? No matter what the week, the beach city will soon be bustling with EDM fans from downtown to Collins Avenue, and hotels and clubs will no doubt cash in on both events. All tickets to UMF sold out by Feb. 18. At press time, $395 tickets to WMC are still available.
Photo by Anthony Mair