Winter Music Conference: This Ain’t No SXSW

Winter Music Conference, the annual dance gathering, drew the usual hordes of celebrity DJs, American spring breakers, Euro trash, and pasty music industry-types to Miami, March 24–28—with an extra dose of rappers this year. Hip-hop sales are way down, but judging by the record 60,000 people who showed up at Ultra, the 11-year-old festival that caps the conference, the dance music is doing just fine, thank you. Paul Oakenfold, MSTRKRFT, the Black Eyed Peas, Diddy, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyke, Roni Size, and Moby were all in town spinning, partying, and getting sunburns. Hoards of them wandered down main drag Collins Avenue looking for the next gig, red-skinned and bleary-eyed. Ultra cofounder and copromoter Russell Faibisch called it, “The best weekend of my life as well as everyone else I know that attended.” (LEFT: MOBY. PEOPLE LISTEN TO TECHNO!)

On the rooftop of the Sony building, at the Get Physical party presented by Bongolina, DJ Heidi spun a gorgeous Afrobeat house remix of Roy Davis Jr. by Derrick Carter. Pete Tong packed the Surfcomber for his usual soiree. Proving that WMC has a uniquely cosmo, hedonistic bent, promoters were giving out vibrators and cock rings as part of the goody bag at the private Armani Exchange party in the penthouse of Miami Beach’s Raleigh Hotel last week, deluxe items by Lelo, no less. That’s something you’d never get in Austin.