Miami madness is about to start and many people still can’t figure out the difference between acronyms: WMC, UMF and MMW. The differences are vast but all three are a lot of fun.
Winter Music Conference
The Winter Music Conference (WMC) is running for its 31st year. It is hard to believe that it all started in Miami’s sister city Fort Lauderdale with a handful of dance music fans in the 80’s at the Marriott Hotel. Dance Industry promoters, record label owners and DJs met in 1986 without knowing it would become the biggest gathering for electronic music fans around the world. The conference moved to Miami in its sixth year and became the place to be for anyone interested in electronic music, where registered fans could use their badges to get in easily to almost all night clubs. The WMC is often seen as just a bunch of gigs in South Florida but there is much more to it. These are the forgotten sides of the WMC…including forums, exhibits, DJ workshops, IDMA –International Dance Music Awards, which does not only feature electronic music but also Indie Rock, R & B and all forms of Dance music. Some of the nominees for this year in the Best Indie Dance / Underground DJ categories are DJ Koze, Hot Toddy, Jamie Jones, and Tensnake. Other highlights of the ceremony include Maceo Plex, Fur Coat, Terranova and Four Tet, all of whom are nominated for Best Underground Dance Track.
The 2016 edition of WMC will be held from March 18 – March 27 with many high quality gigs featured during its 11 days, but also John and Joe can easily throw their own WMC gig at the corner of the street bar. The organization counts a total of 400 events every year. As Nicole Moudaber sums up: “It’s very cinematic. The energy, the palm trees, all the freaks blasting house music down Ocean Drive. But I love the f—king freaks. It’s working”.
Ultra Music Festival
In 1999 the WMC experience saw a new competitor in the sunshine state. A one-night festival named the Ultra Beach Festival showcasing rave-favorite acts like Rabbit in the Moon and DJ Icey in South Beach. The Ultra Music Festival (UMF) now takes place on Bay Front Park in downtown Miami for three days, with this year’s dates being March 18 – 20. Since its early days, the Ultra brand has expanded globally and now has a UMF every year in Korea, Japan, China, Brazil, Croatia and more. The UMF is still a massive chance to experience acts in three days that very few would see in a lifetime. The upcoming edition includes the likes of Eric Prydz, Carl Cox, The Prodigy, etc.
in 2015 Ultra became an 18+ event, where previously all ages were admitted. This will, hopefully, satisfy Seth Troxler complaints on such large scale EDM festivals “I see some fucking crazy shit in clubs, and some fucking sad shit at festivals. Like, that photo Eric Prydz tweeted from Ultra? Of a girl doing lines of coke off another girls naked vagina?” or how about the scandalous question Madonna asked on stage while Avicii was playing “How many of you have seen Molly tonight?”
What many people forget is apart from the EDM, the superstar DJs and the 18+ crowd, the UMF still brings unbelievable talents that Miami would hardly ever see. Take Kraftewerk for instance or electro rock band Empire of the Sun, Underworld, Duran Duran, Chemical Brothers, Royksopp, Laurent Garnier and Moby. This was the 2011 edition all of them the same week end!
Miami Music Week
The newcomer to the party is Miami Music Week (MMW) from March 15 – 20, where only a handful of night clubs are selected compared to its WMC rival. The main venues are Space, Story, Set, Treehouse, The Delano and Nikki Beach, with John Digweed, Josh Wink, and Marco Carola as MMW highlights. It appears that Miami Music Week is working closely with the ULTRA while ULTRA & WMC have been in direct competition for a while. How this will ultimately affect WMC is yet to be determined, but knowing the exclusive nature of Miami club culture, and the history behind it, one wouldn’t be hard pressed to imagine the eventual death of either WMC or MMW.
Perhaps with all this, you will wonder which one is the best? Well, it depends what you like…especially as many keep saying “WMC is not as it used to be”. Well nothing is as it used to be and the Dance Music scene has sure evolved and massively grown since 31 years ago that’s for sure. Long gone are the times of the Ultra Music Festival with only one stage on South Beach, but regardless, each organization features many massive international acts, you just have to do some research, avoid the traps and have the time of your life!