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[whitespace] SF DJs Hazy Shade of Winter: SF DJs represent hard at the '99 WMC.

Miami winter music conference 1999

By dmarie

Annually, legions of future thinkers from every aspect of the global music business congregate in Miami's South Beach for the Winter Music Conference. The intention is to schmooze, booze and converge around a single likeness--the love of the art and technology of music.

The week before liftoff, the buzz on the streets was one of excitement and anticipation. Traveling the East Side to represent the West, San Francisco was forging full force. Our crowded 737 was peppered with the likes of Mark Farina, David Harness, The Mixman and X-Radio crews, along with other grinning, pale-faced locals. The smooth takeoff set a jokingly mild tone for what turned out to be a whirlwind week of debauchery and borderline insanity.

The Hilton Fontainebleu is the conference hot zone, and poolside is the place to meet and greet. Only a third of the crowd are WMC badge holders. The mood is reminiscent of Cannes or Sundance; people are down for the cause, registered or not.

It was evident that San Francisco was representing hard in '99. Far and wide, promoting is the vibe. Everyone has a package, flier or business card to sling.

The Miami Mile (club hopping) wears you out. You can catch 15 high-caliber performances in a single evening. WMC week is very "industry." Everyone is someone, and planning your guest-list privileges is essential. Door costs average $15, and there are three to four stops on your agenda after dark.

Miami is costly. You can drink until early morning in the bars, restaurants and clubs, although you can't buy liquor in stores past midnight. Nights bleed into days; sleep is rare. When closing out the clubs, you can see the flaming orange sun begin to paint strokes on the pale horizon. An ocean sunrise makes any day start off brilliantly, even when you're sleep deprived.

We escaped the bar scene and cruised to a swanky Miami house party through a guarded private community, then down a row of millionaire lots. As we exited the cab, we heard future beats cutting the silence. We were entering the estate of the popular '80s television series Miami Vice. In the bar hung overstated oil paintings of Crockett & Tubbs. The layout seemed so familiar. Scantily dressed women with sun-kissed glows pranced about. The vibe was dramatic, the scene surreal.

All six days seemed to morph into one. Pink-cheeked and exhausted, we boarded our outbound flight. From behind my dark glasses, I noticed that Preston, Martin, UFO!, Mark Farina and the X-Radio crew were all aboard our 767. Everyone was tossed and eager to get back to our city by the bay.

The WMC is a bipolar experience, remarkable yet overwhelming. It takes time to sift through the jokers in order to connect with the real people. These conference and poolside chats make it possible to put faces with names. Our connections become more personal, and in turn our industry grows. For one week out of each year, a mostly faceless industry turns quite the opposite.

This experience solidifies strong representation from many cities, and converging on one spot annually makes for a unification of our global movement.

Other talent present at the WMC included DJ Craze, Roni Size, the Jungle Brothers, Dubtribe, Thomas, Garth, Carl Cox, DJ Rap, E-Z Rollers, Mark Grant, Peanut Butter Wolf, Phunckateck, Optical & Ed Rush, Fierce & Matrix, Dom & Roland, Dara, Dieselboy, Grooverider, DJ Dan, Sasha & Digweed, Bassment Jaxx, Daft Punk, DYI Crew, Carl Craig, Dimitri From Paris, Dazee, Glenn Underground, Cassius, DJ Pierre, the Garage City Crew, Danny Rampling and Richie Hawtin. Big up to the more than 50 others representing SF DJs who were not mentioned.

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From the April 12, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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