Every year, hundreds of thousands of party-goers, industry professionals and locals make their way to the clubs, bars and beaches of Miami, Florida for nearly a month of electronic and dance music.
Winter Music Conference
WMC 2016 is March 21st to 24th
The Winter Music Conference meets every year in Miami Beach, Florida. Created in 1985, WMC serves "music enthusiasts, artists, DJs and industry delegates from over 70 countries converge on Miami Beach for a concentrated schedule of more than 400 events, parties, seminars and workshops," according to the official WMC website.
Essentially, WMC is a series of panels - but when most people refer to WMC, they're referring to the parties and events that surround the conferences.
"Over 2,000,000+ visitors from 209 countries and territories logged on to the WMC web site during the 2014 season. Over 1,900 artists and DJs participated in 390+ performance events presented at 110 venues during the 29th Annual WMC Week in Miami Beach & Miami."
For an official and full list of all Winter Music Conference related events, just click here.
Ultra Music Festival
UMF 2016 is March 18th to the 20th
Established in 1999, Ultra Music Festival has grown to be one of the largest and recognized music festivals on earth. Boasting line ups of just about every EDM headliner ever, plus underground and local talent, UMF has attracted up to 155,000 spectators at each festival.
In 2013, tickets to the annual event sold out in "mere seconds" and other Ultra festivals are held in Ibiza, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Seoul, South Korea; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Split and Hvar, Croatia; Bangkok, Thailand and Tokyo, Japan.
In 2011, what can be simply called as beef between UMF and WMC, Ultra decided to move it's dates from the traditional end-of-March to earlier in the month, causing a huge divide and conflict for party goers. This 2011 Billboard article breaks down the drama.
Miami Music Week (MMW)
MMW 2016 is March 15th to the 20th
According it's own press release:
Miami Music Week is one of the world's most recognized electronic dance music events. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe descend on Miami during the last week of March as the city transforms itself into a dance music paradise. Fueled by the juggernaut Ultra Music Festival, every venue in the city opens its doors for a marathon of events featuring almost every major artist in the electronic dance music scene.
According to it's Facebook page, MMW offers an app that you can use to track events and information regarding their events.
Miami is a big city with many parts
The first thing tourists need to understand about our beloved Miami it is not one location. In fact, Miami-Dade county has 34 separate municipalities. The main areas that you will be kicking it in are as follow:
Traveling between areas
- If you're going from South Beach to Downtown, Wynwood or Midtown, you should look into taking busses 103 Towards C - Dowtown Miami, 120 - Max Towards Downtown Miami, or the 119 Towards South Downtown Miami.
- There is a free trolley that runs from Wynwood to Midtown to the Omni Terminal on Biscayne and 15th. That will connect you to South Beach by one of the busses described above.
- Taking Uber is always a great idea but be aware of surge pricing - remember that it's figured by how many cars are currently being used and our city will have a couple hundred thousand extra people.
The majority of Winter Music Conference events are usually found on South Beach, which is an island and really only accessible from three main roads that get clogged very easily. If you are planning on attending multiple events in one day, you should try to work out a map of times and locations. Otherwise, you may find yourself missing an act because you're stuck in an Uber trying to get to the venue.
Ultra Music Festival will be located in "Greater Downtown Miami", which is a rather specific location - Bayfront Park to be exact. This location is very easy to get to in theory, but once it's party time, you will likely have to walk from a distance (hopefully your nearby hotel)hopefully your nearby hotel. Parking in the neighborhood can be a nightmare, so make sure you plan accordingly.
Wynwood, "Little Brooklyn" as we half joke, is the trendiest, up and coming spot with in Miami. Just years ago it was seen as a very dangerous place, but now it's walls are lined with graffiti and street art from some of the biggest names in the world. But do not let that confuse you - just blocks from the gentrified area with security guards and cops aplenty is the "real Miami", the hoods and areas that you don't want to go into if you're not from there.
Admittedly, you may not find yourself partying in Midtown - however if you need to get any sort of clothing, deodorant, food, etc, it can all be found within the shops of Midtown Mall.
If you are in town on Sunday, March 13th and want to experience legit Miami culture, cheap food and the spectacle of over 1 million people from all over the world gathering on one street, Calle Ocho is for you.
Street vendors, food trucks, random people with coolers selling cans of Heinekin for $2, very cheap food, cheap beer and more food. Also there's a pretty good chance Pitbull will perform in the parking lot of an auto-parts store so, you know, go.
Plan your days - know what location in Miami you are looking to head to. If you're going from South Beach to Downtown and back, know that it could take up to 2 hours each way. Think of all that time you could have spent dancing!
Consider public transportation - if you don't know where you're going, the bus and trolleys do. Trust them. Also you won't have to park a car or worried about driving later after you've had too much fun.
Hydrate and nourish yourself - you need water, duh. You will need it even more when you visit Miami. Even if you are stone-cold sober, the heat and humidity alone will leave you dehydrated. Make sure to eat at least one big meal per day - meaning carbs, proteins and some vegetables. Otherwise, no matter what you "put into your body", you face low energy. If you are able to, rent a hotel / room / house with a stovetop. Cooking your own meals will not only save you money, but keep you from getting sick.
Sleep and rest - Every single year my friends complain of what we call the "Euro-plague", which is when you catch some exotic flu or cold from an out of towner. With hundreds of thousands of visitor from every country across the world, you need to know that you will encounter new germs. Without sleep, food and water, you will get sick. Who wants to return from vacation sick?