Ultra to WMC: We’ve Got You Surrounded

by Mickey Weems
Tuesday Feb 5, 2013

It's that time again. From March 15-24, South Beach will be pulsing to electronic dance music (EDM) as the Winter Music Conference (WMC) comes to town. Downtown Miami will shine as the Ultra Music Festivals I and II roll in for two weekends in a row within that same time span. Like a house music encyclopedia between two massive bookends, WMC is wedged between them (March 15-17, 22-24).

It was not that way in previous years. WMC started a weekend ahead of Ultra, which gradually grew from one day to three days. There was a gradual build-up of people and events when WMC started, a few days to relax and catch up with friends before things cranked up mid-week. By the time the Ultra kids came in, they were an added energy for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday (and for the hardcore, Monday) Ultra-WMC mix.

Not so this year. The days of grace will be replaced with Ultra Part I.

Promoters of Ultras I and II will have to battle sheer exhaustion to pull off a second weekend. But there should not be a lack of attendees for both Ultras. Much of the crowd comes from colleges and universities in the bitter-cold north who head south for Spring Break. The dual Ultras attract 2 separate migrations of college students at the break's peak.

The double-shot of Ultra will add much more traffic (both good and bad) to SOBE during the entire 10 days of WMC, which will expose the Ultra crowd to all kinds of EDM that they might not hear if they attended only the weekends. For its part, WMC is going back to the Convention Center in South Beach for its competitions, workshops and the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA), far away from Ultra, which is situated in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

Ultra lets young folks at the tender age of 13 years buy tickets online - not to hate, but allowing early-teens teenagers at such a large EDM event is whack. if I wanted to be surrounded by out-of-control whippersnappers, I'd teach junior high. Just another reason to stick around SOBE for the duration.

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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