The Winter Party Festival has been a Miami Beach staple for the past 22 years. The fun annual event has raised nearly $2 million for local LGBT projects, overseen by and donated by the National LGBTQ Task Force. The secret to such a successful event year after year is the talent, and this year the DJ lineup is bigger and stronger than ever. Nineteen different DJs will be providing the hottest beats for you to dance to between March 4 and March 9. Here are mini-profiles on all the DJs you’ll be seeing in Miami Beach very soon.
The first party is called Ignite and it will be held on Thursday, March 5 at 10 p.m. at Cameo Nightclub. The DJs at this party will be Dan Slater and Dani Toro. Dan Slater, originally from Australia, started off his career by winning the Sydney Mardi Gras DJ Spin-Off Competition. He secured four residencies in Australia before taking on the rest of the world. He made his first DJ tour of Europe in 2013 and his first DJ tour of the U.S. in 2014. Dani Toro is based in Barcelona, Spain, and broke through to the international scene when he was one of the headliners for Madrid Pride in 2009. Since then, he has headlined across Europe, Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The DJs at Elevate will be Carlos Rojas and Jalil Z. Carlos Rojas is a Miami native who has been working in the industry for 15 years. He has been a Winter Party fixture in the past and has spun at popular Miami Beach nightclubs such as Mansion, Score and Twist. He’s also headlined at Winter Party, Miami Beach Gay Pride and SAVE’s Halloween Party. Jalil Z calls Miami home now but he is originally from Casablanca, Morocco. He started as a DJ at G Lounge in New York City and has headlined in clubs all across Florida and the United States. In 2013 he was nominated for “upcoming DJ of the year” by JustCircuit Magazine.
At Pa’ella, the headlining DJ is Inaia, featuring the talents of Leslie Cartaya. Inaia is originally from Puerto Rico and has performed across the country and in such far-flung locales as India, China and Morocco. Leslie Cartaya is a Cuban singer who has received three Latin Grammy Award nominations, including nods for Best New Artist (2013) and Best Tropical Album (2015).
The Pulse party features four headliner DJs: Rosabel, Nina Flowers and Power Infiniti. Rosabel is a duo, Ralphi Rosario from Chicago and Abel from Miami. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy Award for their remix of Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World.” Other famous remixes include Jeanie Tracy’s “Cha Cha Heels” and Gloria Estefan’s “Tres Deseos.” The duo has earned six #1 dance hits. Nina Flowers, well known for her appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, holds down a number of residencies, ranging from San Francisco to Boston to New York City to Denver. Power Infiniti, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, has successfully combined DJ sets with performance art for the past ten years. Power Infiniti is a scion from the legendary Ballroom House of Infiniti in New York City, and now leads the Florida chapter.
Saturday, March 7 is action-packed with four different parties. The first is Under One Sun (noon, Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach), followed by Sweat (10 p.m., Hunters, Fort Lauderdale), Industry (10 p.m., Cafeina), and Energy (10 p.m., Score).
Under One Sun‘s headlining DJ is Brett Henrichsen. Brett Henrichsen was a marketing specialist for IBM before entering the music industry, first running a record label, then performing as a DJ. He’s headlined many large circuit events in the United States, such as Gay Days, New York City Pride’s Pier Dance, and the White Parties in Miami and Palm Springs. You can also see him on Atlantis Cruises where he is a resident DJ. Sweat‘s headlining DJ is John LePage. Based out of San Francisco, John LePage has been a DJ for nearly twenty years. He’s no stranger to Miami Beach; he has headlined Winter Party and White Party events in the past. He owns his own digital record label, called Groove Records, and is a resident DJ at three different San Francisco nightclubs. The DJ for the Industry party is Crush. She has performed in many nightclubs across South Florida, from Miami Beach to West Palm.
Energy boasts three headlining DJs: Alain Jackinsky, Erez Ben Ishay and Isaac Escalante. Alain Jackinsky became famous by playing to crowds at every gay venue and event in Montreal, such as the Black & Blue Ball and Divers-Cité. Now he has residencies at Apollon in Montreal and four U.S. cities, including Score right here in Miami Beach. JustCircuit Magazine named him 2014’s “DJ of the Year.” Erez Bin Ishay comes from Tel Aviv, Israel, where he began his DJ career ten years ago. Since then, he has performed at gay pride parades throughout the world, including Montreal, Toronto, Bogota and in his hometown of Tel Aviv. He also works with the Israeli Consulate in the U.S. to promote tourism to Israel. Isaac Escalante, originally from Mexico City, shot to stardom in Latin America in less than a year on the DJ circuit. In the last decade, he produced eight hit dance tracks of his own, all while maintaining a regular residency at Living in Mexico City. Currently he is a DJ in residency at The Week in Rio de Janeiro, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Latin America.
Perhaps the most anticipated party of all of them at the Winter Party Festival is the Beach Party, which starts on Sunday, March 8 at noon at Lummus Park. Then at 10 p.m., WE Party: Attacks starts at Mansion Nightclub. The party rolls on into Monday morning with ACTION! Afterglow, starting at 5 a.m. at Mekka.
Both Phil Romano and Seth Cooper will be spinning at The Beach Party. Phil Romano is from Australia but is currently based in Barcelona. His music style combines the carefree nature of Australia, his Italian heritage, and the impeccable style of Spain. He helped make Extreme Push, Italy’s largest circuit party, a reality, and is a well-known face at the Matinee circuit party in Barcelona. He is also a resident at New York City’s VIVA nightclub. Seth Cooper, based in Chicago, has been touring as a DJ for twelve years. He’s been given quite a few awards by JustCircuit Magazine, including “Best DJ” and “Best Circuit Tour.” He has performed at nearly every circuit event in the Western Hemisphere, including Winter Party, but this year is his Beach Party debut.
The DJs ready to entertain you at WE Party: Attacks are Alyson Calagna and Micky Friedmann. Alyson Calagna has toured across North America and has performed to sold-out crowds in Brazil and Europe as well. She is a fixture in the U.S. circuit party scene, and in recent years you may have seen her spin at Gay Days, White Party, and here at the Winter Party Festival. Everyone agrees that her sound is distinct. Micky Friedmann, originally from Israel, is now based in Berlin. Starting his career as a dancer and choreographer, he exploded into the international circuit scene in 2007 after signing with an agent in New York City. Since then, he’s performed not just in Europe, but in Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, and all across Florida.
Joe Gauthreaux closes out the 2015 Winter Party Festival with his headlining set at ACTION! Afterglow. Joe Gauthreaux is originally from New Orleans and got his start DJing at the famed nightclub Oz in the French Quarter. Now he lives in New York City and divides his time between touring across the world as an in-demand DJ and producing music for his own label, Prop D Recordings. His debut single, “Bye Felicia,” featuring Mitch Amtrak, made it to the top five on the dance charts last year.
To find out more about the Winter Party Festival, including more information on each event, visit winterparty.com.