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Why Vegas kicks Miami’s ass

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Avicii spins at Marquee during the Nightclub & Bar Convention.
Photo: Al Powers
Sarah Gianetto

I’m not in Miami, bitch. And clearly, I don’t need to be.

Had I gone to Miami for the Winter Music Conference last week, it would have been my ninth (non-consecutive) year in attendance. But this year’s splitting of WMC and Ultra Music Week threw people like me for a loop, and rather than deciding between them, I decided to forgo both.

When I lived in Phoenix, a trip to WMC was invaluable. But now that I’m in Las Vegas, I’ve been spoiled by the frequent, quality EDM entertainment, the industry resources and the constant influx of international travelers that I normally would connect with once a year in Miami. I realized I wouldn’t be missing much by skipping the trip south.

The author lounges in Miami during a past Winter Music Conference.

Ask veterans and they’ll say that nobody actually attends WMC. People are in Miami for the party, and while it’s a great one, Vegas has plenty of its own. Coinciding with Miami’s WMC this year, Vegas hosted the annual Nightclub & Bar Convention. There was plenty of business going on—I attended a few valuable speaker sessions—but the exhibit hall floor was a party in itself, sound systems booming, hundreds of alcohol brands pushing samples and a monster stage featuring Camp Freddy with Dave Navarro and crew.

“In industry terms, there is no comparison to NCB, as WMC is a mostly fan-based and DJ/music-based event,” explains Robert Casillas, president of nightlife consultants Monsoon Group. “Unlike WMC, NCB is the focus of the nightlife industry and is geared to the education of the industry. [It’s] the world’s trade center for everything nightlife and alcohol beverage industry.”

Though NCB doesn’t address dance music just yet, the afterparties and regular lineup at Las Vegas nightclubs offered plenty of options during the convention. Marquee alone hosted Erick Morillo, Avicii, Redfoo of LMFAO, Robbie Rivera and Kaskade on different nights; LAX hosted Sharam’s new residency; Hard Rock featured Tiësto’s monthly stop and Cedric Gervais; and at the Palms’ various clubs, Morgan Page, and Fischerspooner, Bass Kleph & Vandalism and Harry “Choo Choo” Romero all made appearances. Phew!

The Palms was also the site of MTV’s 2011 Spring Break. And who needs the Ultra Music Festival later this month (held separately from WMC this year and being reworked into its own industry week) when Vegas has been tapped for Electric Daisy Carnival’s June relocation?

As Casillas puts it, “With scheduled larger acts in electronic music and all other genres scheduled for 2012 [and] with Las Vegas’ amenities and amazing venues, and now with the world’s best DJs and artists performing here, Miami cannot, and will never, compete.”

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