Miami Music Week 2022: Epic Pool Parties at the Sagamore Hotel March 23-27
It’s been two years since dance music fans dipped their toes into an authentic Miami Music Week pool party. Since the early 90s, when the week was better known as the Winter Music Conference (WMC), South Beach hotels have hosted poolside DJs, inviting them to spin vinyl under the hot South Florida sun.
Though the days of DJs lugging crates and binders of CDs are over, two stalwarts are bringing the party back to its historic origins at this year’s Miami Music Week. British-born Neil Evans and Florida-born Jonathan Cowan’s success as event promoters began in the early 2000s when the duo hosted parties whenever the World Series of Events Renaissance was going to Miami.
“I was music director and resident DJ at Groove Jet from about 1996,” says Cowan. new times. “I can’t tell you exactly when Neil and I met, but we started working together during the Renaissance concerts, and I later became the resident DJ there.”
After founding the Bliss Productions label, Cowan began hosting events at Club Space and Crobar.
Along with Evans, Cowan began focusing on events after his family purchased the Shelborne Hotel on Collins Avenue. The couple dug deeper into booking parties around the fledgling Winter Music Conference.
“We always rented the pools to outside developers during the conference,” Cowan recalls. “So we built a club in the basement and turned the pool into a pure party week. Neil and I have formed a really good friendship over the years doing the bookings and hosting the party.”
After Cowan’s family sold the Shelborne in 2012, Cowan and Evan moved to Ibiza, where Cowan DJed for eight seasons at the iconic Pacha nightclub.
At the same time, Evans coordinated worldwide Renaissance events and soon became Amnesia’s music director and head of business affairs in Ibiza.
“Without people like John, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now,” Evans said. new times. “About four or five years ago we had the idea of having the parties at a different location. We had a show in Brickell at the Epic before COVID-19, but now we’re back on the beach. We have history, and we do it because we love it.”
For five days at the Sagamore Hotel, Cowan and Evan’s Epic Pool Parties series returns with signature events and special guests from noon to 11 p.m.
“John and the team in Miami handle operations and productions and make sure all the i’s are dotted,” says Evans. “On my end, I’m working with John on lineups and marketing. It’s a collaborative effort between Miami and Ibiza.”
The events also symbolize nostalgia for WMC’s heyday in the 90s and early 2000s.
“It was kind of fair to go back to South Beach,” Cowan said. “We were at the Shelborne for so long and then after the Shelborne we spent a year at the Delano. The things we’ve done historically have always been on the beach. So we looked around and met the staff at the Sagamore. , and it seemed to fit with what we were doing at Shelborne: trying to recreate that magic.”
From Wednesday, March 23, UK publication DJ Magazine takes over with Andrea Oliva, Vintage Culture, John Summit, Layla Benitez and Eats Everything.
“It’s a collaborative effort across the Atlantic and about 12 weeks of preparation – constantly having phone or Zoom meetings,” says Evans.
The following day, Thursday, March 24, a Beatport takeover in collaboration with DJ/producer Lee Foss and his Repopulate Mars label featuring a special back to back.
Then comes the weekend.
On Friday, March 25, Sonny Fodera presents Solotoko, featuring a sequel set that has yet to be announced and the return of genre-blending producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (AKA TEED).
“TEED is an incredible DJ,” proclaims Evans. “He became available, and we went to get him. I hired him seven years ago, and he’s one of those DJs that will always surprise you.”
Jamie Jones’ label, Hot Creations, is also organizing on Saturday March 26, with Alan Fitzpatrick and Skream. Evans and Cowen have also recruited two of Club Space’s resident DJs, Layla Benitez and Ms. Mada, to add some local flair to the week-long festivities.
When the burnout sets in on Sunday, March 27, revelers can look forward to a dedicated disco finale event, where the bass is turned down and the funk is pumped to the max. Legends like Carl Craig, Danny Tenaglia and Skream will take to the decks to spin their old favorites.
“The reason we chose this party is because at the end of the week people are done with house and techno,” says Evans. “It’s not a normal party in Miami, but the ones in Ibiza are fun. People dress up, there are wigs and they’re really having fun. They’re local friends and we’re having fun in the sun .”
“I’m excited to see what someone like Tenaglia has in mind or what he would call disco,” adds Cowan.
For Cowan and Evans, the Epic Pool Parties series isn’t an attempt to get rich quick or garner kudos on social media — it’s a tribute to celebration.
“We’re very lucky to have great relationships with the artists and their management, and that side doesn’t change much,” Cowan said. “We have so many friendships that span the years. We do it because we love it.”
Epic pool parties. Wednesday, March 23 through Sunday, March 27 at Sagamore, 1671 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-535-8088; sagamoresouthbeach.com. Tickets cost between $60.55 and $246.81 via eventbrite.com.