When Festivals Fight: Winter Music Conference vs. Ultra Music Festival

Some scenes thrive on collaboration and cooperation (Portland, anyone?), and some… well… don’t. So, with the festivities just about four months away it looks like the Ultra Music Festival and the Winter Music Conference have officially decided to stop getting along. We were already a bit suspicious when the two electronic music gatherings – usually held during the same week in March – announced separate dates, but the tension has officially reached clingy ex-boyfriend/girlfriend levels of discomfort.

While the WMC seemingly threw a wrench into the party by scheduling their shindig two weeks earlier than usual, The Daily Swarm has compiled some evidence to suggest that promoters and club owners are actually very angry with the folks at Ultra.

The WMC explained in a press release that the scheduling of the conference was based “exclusively on venue availability,” but Club Space owner Louis Puig – whose venue normally books DJs for parties after Ultra shuts down at midnight – seems to think that Ultra has it out for the annual gathering of electronic music artists and industry insiders. He composed a blog entry explaining his take on the scheduling drama.

Puig has accused Ultra of trying to monopolize WMC by engaging exclusive contracts with all major DJs that will not allow them to perform at dance clubs. “Consumers will no longer be able to enjoy [their] favorite DJs for extended sets after midnight at [their] favorite clubs,” Puig wrote, “instead [they] will be forced to listen to them for a one hour set before midnight in a crowded field of dust, mud, and ravers.” He goes on to praise Ultra and “what they bring to the game,” but emphasizes that he does not agree with what he is calling Ultra’s “greedy strategy to manipulate and monopolize the conference.” He closes the post by explaining that the “good folks at WMC have taken a brave step towards bringing saneness and normality to this overpopulated and overpriced chaos by choosing a separate week from Ultra to hold their parties and events.”

Ultra – which has expanded to three days in 2011 – hasn’t officially commented on the issue, and while some folks thrive on drama, we just want everyone to start getting along again. If you had to choose between WMC and Ultra, the which one would you choose? Give us your two cents in the comment section below, and stay locked to our Festival Outlook page for all your up to date information.


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