Over the last 24 hours, the hottest topic in electronic music has been the change in dates for next year's Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival. The two music events have always coincided during the last week of March, but this year WMC takes place from March 8-12, while Ultra Music Festival sticks to the end of the month, opting for March 25-27. In a recent statement released by Winter Music Conference, it seems as though they were just as surprised as their audience.
"At 12:57 a.m. today, Winter Music Conference's founding Directors received an email from Ultra Music Festival notifying them that the 2011 Ultra Music Festival would not be presented during and in conjunction with the 2011 Winter Music Conference," the statement read. "The notification was served despite a signed October 15, 2009 contract between the two entities."
Ultra Music Festival and WMC seemed to be locked in a legal contract to run during the same week, but Ultra has decided to go their own way. WMC made it clear in their statement that it "remains committed to the artists, delegates and fans that have made the program what it has become over the last 25 years."
The frequent attendants of the events are now faced with a decision: Winter Music Conference or Ultra Music Festival? The real answer lies on the shoulders of Miami's own club-owners. Will they stick to the end of the month and revolve around Ultra Music Festival? Or, will they stay true to the event that brought the series of collective club-events together in the first place?
Over the past few years Ultra Music Festival has been increasing in size and production level, with last year's event topping the charts. It's beginning to take on an identity of its own, a reasonable argument to branch out on their own. But again, it falls on the shoulders of Miami nightlife. One prominent nightclub owner has already expressed his sentiments on the situation in an email released earlier today.
"This year and once again, Ultra is trying to monopolize WMC by engaging exclusive contracts with all major DJs which will not allow them to perform at your favorite dance clubs," said Louis Puig, owner of Club Space. "You either pay the overpriced Ultra admission, or you don't get to see and dance to your favorite DJ at all."
In the letter, Puig, a notable nightlife figure in Miami for the past two decades, states that Ultra's "greedy" actions are attempting to "manipulate and monopolize Music Conference."
Owning one of the most popular clubs during WMC gives Puig quite the voice in this argument. He believes that the end result of "who gets the events" belongs to the fans.
"This year you have a chance to make a difference and bring back what Music Conference and Electronic Music used to be about," Puig says in the statement. "You can either come to Miami on the last week of March, support the greedy monopoly... or you can come the second week of March, claim back your wallet and your nightlife."
He also made it clear that he'd be sticking to the Winter Music Conference dates, closing up the statement with, "See you the second week in March."
Although it seems pretty clear as to when Club Space will be hosting their "Music Conference" events next year, that still leaves the rest of Miami nightlife to decide. Yes, in some way Puig is correct by saying that it's up to the fans; however, the events have to be announced before the fans can actually make up their minds.
Some clubs may have already booked their events and made production plans for the end of March. It's difficult to reschedule events of that caliber and production level once contracts have been made and arrangements have been coordinated. The topic will slowly unravel in the coming days, and the fans are already beginning to make themselves heard.
Stay tuned for more updates.