In Miami, March Madness usually takes on a different meaning from the rest of the country, as a rabid, national obsession with college basketball typically gives way to our local search for electronic dance beats during the Winter Music Conference. This year, however, with the surging University of Miami Hurricanes basketball team having a realistic chance to take the NCAA title, hoops mania just might steal some attention from the annual music festival.
But savvy fans of both sports and music can easily find a way to enjoy both worlds (maybe DVR the Canes games?). Here’s a guide to events or venues not to miss — some obvious, some more under-the-radar — during Miami Music Week, which actually has been stretched to 10 days, from March 15-24
1. The Ultra Music Festival
What used to be the most exhilarating three-day weekend featuring the world’s best DJs and dance-music acts has now been expanded to two three-day weekends for its 15-year anniversary Friday-Sunday and March 22-24. Catch globally worshipped DJ/producers including David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Avicii, Afrojack, Kaskade, deadmau5, Tiesto, Carl Cox, John Digweed, Calvin Harris, the return of Paul van Dyk, and a fond farewell for Swedish House Mafia; plus live acts Crystal Castles, Boys Noize, Hot Chip and even hip-hop king Snoop Dogg.
2. The Delano Hotel
As if there weren’t reason enough to hang at this gorgeous Art Deco masterpiece, the WMC lineup features EDM superstars Sander Kleinenberg, Kraak & Smaak, Carl Cox, Pete Tong, James Zabiela, Guy Gerber, Behrouz, Carl Craig and Yousef, among dozens more.
3. Paul Oakenfold
The British DJ/producer and founder of Perfecto Records has been at the forefront of house music since the late ’90s, and also has a strong rock-’n’-roll background, having toured with U2 and discovering Manchester bands such as Happy Mondays. He’s all over the place during WMC, with gigs at the National Hotel poolside, Soho House, The Clevelander, Arkadia, Fifty Miami and Mekka.
4. LIV Nightclub at the Fontainebleau Hotel
The hippest VIP spot and celeb-hangout in Miami Beach boasts a sick lineup including Calvin Harris, Kaskade, Steve Angello, Benny Benassi, Laidback Luke, Dirty South, Erick Morillo, Sander van Doorn and many more.
5. Juicy Beach featuring Robbie Rivera at Nikki Beach Club
The sexiest party in the sand brings grooves from Bob Sinclar, Mord Fustang, Manufactured Superstars, Cosmic Gate, Moguai, Stefano Noferini and dozens more on Thursday all day and night.
6. Unique spots for EDM
Avicii, one of the hottest DJs on the planet (the Swedish superstar lured Madonna onstage last year during Ultra to perform her song Girl Gone Wild) takes over the Marlin Hotel on 12th and Collins Avenue in South Beach for the duration of the conference. DJ Thomas Gold has rented a bus, dubbed it the Fanfare Bus and will be playing intimate sets and giving fans who scored tickets on his website rides around town. Tiesto highlights the invite-only Sirius XM Lounge that returns poolside at the W South Beach Hotel on Wednesday. And among various boat cruises featuring DJs, Sasha hosts the Last Night on Earth sunset cruise aboard the Biscayne Lady on Thursday.