WMC 2013: Advice from the Beachmonkey

by Mickey Weems
Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

It's time again for the Winter Music Conference 2013 (March 15-24) in Miami, Florida. Ten days of electronic dance music (EDM) sounds great to those who have never been, but it can also be a bit overwhelming: Over a week off work in Miami with hundreds of parties is a potential wallet-buster.

For anyone aspiring for a job in the business of getting down, WMC is more than just an insanely good time with corresponding loss of revenue. It is the chance to make connections that could pay off down the road.

Mike "Beachmonkey" Luczaj is a photographer and social media wizard who began his career by attending WMC in 2005 with a cheap camera, a shoestring budget and a lot of chutzpah. Since then, he has updated his equipment, gained renown for his website (beachmonkey.com) and his skills as a photographer, and built a strong base of support among WMC staff and attendees. Mike is a staunch ally of the LGBT community, and encourages people from whatever orientation, ethnic background, and economic means to see WMC for themselves.

Mike's recommendations in this article are mainly for DJs, singers and budding promoters who are big on ambition but short on cash. Access to WMC events depends on two things: money and connections. First-timers on a low budget can attend all kinds of free events at boutique hotels, and stay for only a portion of the 10-day conference. Those with more connections and income can invest in a WMC badge and attend the forums during the day. These forums feature some of the top movers and shakers in the business.

It is also important for people wanting to make it big to contact Gay venues such as Mova, Score and Twist. All three of these clubs showcase talent during WMC. But pretty much every space in SOBE, from clothing stores to restaurants, will feature a DJ or musician that week.

The goal for aspiring talent should be to one day perform or promote at WMC, even if the performance is in a tiny venue and only a few people attend. Just having a name on the official roster is a good career move. There is real magic in the words, "I was a part of WMC."

Low-Ass Budget:

Get there by at least Thursday and leave Sunday
Skip all the giant parties (you are on a budget)
Go to all the small free hotel parties
Network like crazy with all the DJs and promoters
Set yourself up for next year

Medium Budget:

Get WMC Badge (HUGE)
Go to the forums
Enter scratch/spin-off (DJs)
Try to spin/sing at an event (doesn't matter how big, just perform)
Go to all the small/medium size parties
Skip the mega-parties (you are there to work, not party)
Network like crazy

High Budget:

Get WMC Badge
Attend the forums
Attend IDMA (International Dance Music Awards) and dress to impress
Throw your own party and get on The List (WMC sanctioned events)
Network like crazy
Limit the amount of large parties you attend (don't wear yourself out)
Hit as many medium/small parties to meet as many people as you can
Go the entire 10 days

Reasons to Attend:

1. Support the industry you love
2. Hear different genres of EDM music
3. Network and get exposure
4. Learn to better market yourself


18% of attendees are DJs/Artists
15% are record labels
13% are Press and Media
7% are Event/Concert Promoters
5% are Venue/Club Owners
*From the WMC media kit.

Dr. Mickey Weems is a folklorist, anthropologist and scholar of religion/sexuality studies. He has just published The Fierce Tribe, a book combining intellectual insight about Circuit parties with pictures of Circuit hotties. Mickey and his husband Kevin Mason are coordinators for Qualia, a not-for-profit conference and festival dedicated to Gay folklife. Dr. Weems may be reached at mickeyweems@yahoo.com


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