During the 2010 Winter Music Conference I hopped between parties on South Beach, danced in the sand at Nikki Beach and listened to some of the best DJs in the electronic music scene at Ultra. Out of all these my favorite experience was hanging out at the Belvedere Vodka Music Lounge.
Hosted by SIRIUS XM Radio and held outside at the posh W Hotel, the music lounge featured an impressive array of DJs whose performances and interviews were broadcast live on Area (SIRIUS channel 38 and XM channel 80).
It wasn’t just hanging out at a swanky spot near the ocean and sipping Belvedere cocktails that made the experience. It was getting to be just steps away from some of the biggest DJs in the world.
I couldn’t help but feel starstruck — there I was, watching DJs whom I’ve listened to for years perform right in front of me. Even with the music blasting from the speakers the lounge felt so intimate. It was like a secret club for VIPs that I had been allowed to enter.
When I walked into the Belvedere Music Lounge I saw on stage a man with dirty blond hair and a red shirt. I got a little bit closer and realized it was Ferry Corsten! The Dutch DJ is currently ranked number 7 in DJ Magazine‘s list of the Top 100 DJs.
As I walked even closer to the stage Ferry looked up at me. I smiled and gave him a small wave; he flashed a smile right back at me. I looked around at the dozen or so other guests in amazement, feeling absolutely thrilled that I was part of this special experience. Here was a guy who plays for tens of thousands of people on a regular basis — and right then it felt like he was playing just for me.
As Ferry was winding down, a man with black hair and sunglasses got on stage to start setting up for his own set. He was soon joined by another guy wearing a white t-shirt that said “Fix News” in a style similar to Fox News’ logo.
Were my eyes playing tricks on me? I looked again. Yes, I was seeing things correctly. There, less than 10 feet in front of me were Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland of The Crystal Method.
On the tiny stage without any flashing lights or smoke machines, the two looked like normal guys rocking out to the music and having lots of fun. It was so neat to see them in this small and casual setting; and such a different feeling than their performance later that evening for thousands of fans at Ultra. Click here for a photo of The Crystal Method at Ultra
All of a sudden I saw a flash of tattoos breeze by me, headed for the stage. I recognized Tommy Lee (of Mötley Crüe and Pamela Anderson fame) right away, and then checked out who he came in with. It turned out to be none other than Joel Zimmerman aka deadmau5, my current favorite DJ. Surrounded by a small entourage they said hi to the guys from The Crystal Method, posed for some pictures, then headed off to an interview for SIRIUS XM Radio.
Had I been able to spend more time at the Belvedere Music Lounge I would have seen deadmau5 perform, as well as numerous other DJs who played for massive crowds at Ultra and other events throughout the WMC. As I was leaving the lounge I felt like kicking myself for committing to too many other events.
Note to self for WMC 2011: make sure to clear plenty of time to hang out at the Belvedere Music Lounge. The experience of listening to world famous DJs up close is not to be missed.