Miami wrap-up: photos, videos & other bits

There isn’t much that wintry about Miami during the Winter Music Conference. Judging by the parade of poolside showcases, beach parties and tanned bodies, it seems like the sun is always shining down Miami way.

The division between the Conference itself (8-12 March) and the superstar-guzzling Ultra Music Festival (25-27 March) turned out to be a blessing in disguise, with pretty well the entire month handed over to an endless procession of dance music’s finest. One of the loudest criticisms of the WMC seems to be that with so many parties, there are inevitably ones with tumble-weeds blowing through them.

Filo & Peri, who supported Paul van Dyk at Mansion on 12 March, noted a change in the first half of the month. “Splitting up the Conference up this year was stupid for a start,” one half of the duo Bo Pericic told inthemix. “Our show was packed, but there were just less people on the street overall.”

While the WMC period was not short on big names, the real cavalcade of parties happened around Ultra and the week leading up to it. Planted at our desks “as far as fuck away from everything as possible” (thanks to Derrick May for that assessment of Australia), we kept an envious eye on the happenings in sunny Miami. Here’s a small overview of our vicarious living.

One of the true knockout line-ups if you like it trance-y (or indeed proggy) was Anjunabeats In Miami, which checked into The Ice Palace on Thursday 24 March. In the Anjunadeep room, James Grant and Jaytech went back-to-back in celebration of their all-class compilation Anjunadeep:03, with distinguished guests like Jody Wisternoff, Desyn Masiello and John Dahlback.

Of course, the majority of the Anjuna-acolytes in attendance were crammed into the main room to hail beneficent leaders Above & Beyond and ring-ins Cosmic Gate and Gabriel & Dresden. If you want to get in the Creamfields head-space, have a listen to the full 90-minute G&D set on Soundcloud below.

Some outspoken ITMers might’ve been iffy about Above & Beyond’s direction on recent single Sun & Moon but the crowd at this Miami in-store have clearly embraced it. Fandom at its tranciest.

On the same day that Anjunabeats took over Ice Palace, Cadenza boss Luciano and Detroit don Carl Craig went back-to-back for a sold-out pool party. We can’t get enough of the video below. Luciano somehow gets away with an edit that he really shouldn’t (while looking a fair few vodkas in), while his DJ partner impresses again with his unbreakable poker face. Not to mention the stage overflowing with vacant-looking randoms. Miami gold!

One corner of town where there was never a dull moment was Beatport’s Beach Party. From 23 to 27 March, Beatport took over a prime patch of sand in Miami, with showcases from mau5trap, Size Matters, Mixmag and more. What’s more, it was free. That’s right, free to see DJs like Richie Hawtin, Mark Knight, Skrillex and Dubfire.

The Beach Party line-up that had us particularly intrigued was Mixmag’s opener, which jumped around styles like, well, a dance music magazine. Where else would you find Wolf + Lamb, Busy P, Riva Starr, Sander van Doorn and Danny Tenaglia on the one stage? Judging from these photos, it looked like a scorcher.

Miami’s a good place for bespoke line-ups you don’t come across often, and 2011 had its fair share. Take the Balance Music showcase, for example, which made no great fanfare of having a fanboy’s dream bill of Nick Warren, Desyn Masiello, Chris Fortier, Paolo Mojo and Anthony Pappa.

Then there was Craig Richards and Lee Burridge making a rare return as Tyrant, and relatively intimate boat parties with the likes of John Digweed. We could scarcely do justice to it all here, so here’s a show-reel of the other pretty pictures that caught our eye.

Ultra Music Festival was the Goliath of the Miami marathon. As we covered in our round-up, 150,000 bodies moved through Bicentennial Park over the course of three days to witness one of the most star-studded line-ups money could buy.

Then of course there was the extra money needed to get ’[exclusive]’ after each headlining name (except David Guetta, who also did a Fuck Me I’m Famous club show). Thanks to those binding exclusivity deals, the only place to see Underworld, Deadmau5, Boys Noize, Moby, Carl Cox and of course the big-earner himself Tiesto was amongst the hordes at Ultra.

The festival was also the second stop on Armin van Buuren’s A State Of Trance 500 tour, and the arena line-up he curated didn’t pull any punches. You can check out the slick video report below and marvel at the photo gallery of Ferry Corsten, Armin, Cosmic Gate and Sander van Doorn sharing that #trancefamily spirit.

Not every superstar name lined up for Ultra, though. After conquering Bicentennial Park last year, the Swedish House Mafia decided to bring its Masquerade Hotel to South Beach. That meant erecting a vast tent to fit 15,000 people (it sold out rapidly, of course) and inviting some friends like A-Trak, Calvin Harris and Dirty South to join the fun.

As you’ll see from the gallery, it was everything you’d expect from a SHM show. Sadly it wasn’t smiles and bikini bump ‘n grind for everyone. At 6pm, the Miami Beach fire marshal closed the gates of the venue, meaning ticket-holders who arrived late were left out on the cold sand. It’s clear the ticket outlet is to blame for overselling, but that hasn’t stopped some vehement hate directed towards the DJ trio.

VIP tickets were reportedly being sold by enterprising types outside the venue for upwards of $500. We sure hope whoever shelled out for those was inside the tent by 6pm…