Battle of the Music Mega-Fests
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Which is where Ultra’s clash with the WMC appears to have originated: Unable to secure a large convention-style hotel for the weekend of March 25, the WMC picked an earlier weekend whose Sunday ran concurrently with the massive Calle Ocho street festival on the mainland. Timothy Schmand, executive director of Bayfront Park, confirmed to the Herald that there simply weren’t enough police officers available to work both Calle Ocho and Ultra on the same day. Ultra’s organizers obviously felt they now had just as much name recognition and international clout as the WMC—and that the flock of events that had always piggybacked on the WMC would simply realign themselves with Ultra and its 100,000-strong crowd.
So far, Ultra’s gambit has paid off. Most higher-profile DJs are staging their events to coincide with Ultra. The WMC has issued a statement saying they were “blindsided” by Ultra’s move, but that they remain confident that their event would be more memorable: “The quintessential WMC experience is really about the camaraderie between pioneering artists and industry legends—walking into a club or pool party and seeing your favorite artists up on stage performing among their own peers.” That might be convincing if “the quintessential WMC experience” had ever had anything to do with the WMC’s own organizers.
Photographs by Seth Browarnik