Miami's annual week of electronic music will be split in two this March.
As previously reported, Ultra Music Festival will occur during the final week of March (when the conference itself has taken place for the past five years in a row). In a recent interview with Resident Advisor, Made Event, the folks behind perennial bashes like Sunday School For Degenerates, confirmed that all of their parties are scheduled for that weekend as well.
"We are sure some promoters and clubs will do their best to take advantage of both weeks and book events during both periods. However with most of the talent routed through the end of March already, all of the big events are happening then."
Made said they are not concerned about the rift between their parties and WMC. "The conference itself has not been the main attraction for fans of EDM for over a decade. Folks come down for an amazing week of parties and events. It's like the USA's version of Ibiza for a week... Once the fans see all of their favorite artists performing at the end of the month, that is when they will book their flights and hotels."
Reached for comment at his home outside Miami, WMC vice president and co-founder Bill Kelly said the shake-up will only benefit WMC. "It opens up a whole opportunity for new promoters and new people to come in," he said. "If Made Event doesn't do another party down here at all it really doesn't hurt anything. In the bigger picture [promoters like Made] all add something but they also take something away, so this is a great opportunity for a whole new group of people to come in, a whole new series of parties."
Kelly also says the absence of annual party "institutions" will boost the conference's professional value. "If David Guetta decides to do his F*** Me I'm Famous party on the week of the Ultra Music Festival, then great. The clubs are going to benefit from that. But what will the delegates benefit from? The delegates will benefit from a new platform of all different types of good, new entertainment and new promoters. It is probably a better marriage, because these institutions only suck and take from."
The same goes for Ultra Music Festival, says Kelly: "You have kids coming down who are saying 'I'm going to the Winter Music Conference... but what they really mean is that they are going to the Ultra Music Festival... I think the separation of the Ultra Music Festival from the WMC will re-energise the business side of it again." While Ultra Music Festival and the annual club events aim to please "patrons," he said, WMC is most concerned with catering to its delegates. "Those people are more serious-minded about the industry; they want to be in it, not party in it."
In regards to the brouhaha surrounding WMC's choice of dates, Kelly maintains the conference did nothing out of the ordinary. "There is a little bit of history
here; in 26 years of doing the conference we have done it on the last weekend in March five times. People have quite short-term memories."
The last time WMC took place the week of March 8th was in 2004. Kelly also says the conference occurred six times in March, suggesting promoters should have been prepared for any set of dates within a six to eight week period. "We didn't change our dates; we announced our dates."
Deadmau5 has reportedly been confirmed for this year's Ultra Music Festival, making him the second artist billed for the event after Crystal Castles. Lineups for WMC, UMF and the rest of the parties should be announced in the weeks ahead.