Home Features DJ Deanne Talks Winter Party Festival 2024

DJ Deanne Talks Winter Party Festival 2024

DJ Deanne

The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Winter Party Festival 2024 makes its return to Miami Beach for its 31st anniversary celebration now through March 5. Winter Party is an annual dance and music festival featuring a week-long series of events benefiting both local and national LGBTQ+ organizations. This year’s festival features a diverse mix of music, community programming, and entertainment. The Winter Party Festival brings in over 10,000 attendees annually and hosts 14 events across nine exhilarating world-class Miami and Miami Beach venues. Guests will be treated to upbeat tunes from 17 international DJs including Calagna, Deanne, Sagi Kariv, and more.

Founded in 1994, Winter Party provides a safe haven for the LGBTQ and allied communities to celebrate and live freely. The National LGBTQ Task Force donates a significant portion of the proceeds raised at Winter Party and its sister event, the National LGBTQ Task Force Gala, to like-minded community advocacy groups in South Florida through the LGBTQ+ Equity Fund, a philanthropic collaboration between the Task Force, Our Fund Foundation, and The Miami Foundation. Since 2005, the Task Force has given back more than $3.6 million and supported over 100 community organizations in South Florida; the Task Force also directly funds social justice causes locally and nationally. Winter Party brings nearly $4.2M in revenue to Miami, supporting over 800 local jobs in hospitality, food & beverage, retail, recreation, and entertainment.

Guests are encouraged to reserve tickets to this year’s events, all designed to capture the energetic spirit that is Winter Party. The first two night-time dance parties will feature two new venues to the festival line-up: Ignite will be held at MAD Club Wynwood and showcase two DJs making their Winter Party debut, Leanh and Dawson. HEAT will be held at Wynwood Marketplace and marks the first time in more than a decade that Winter Party is featuring an outdoor nighttime event. The first of Winter Party’s signature events, Under One Sun, will be held at Oasis Wynwood and feature the debut of DJ Derrick Carter to the festival line-up. Winter Party’s premier celebration on the sun-kissed sands of Miami Beach, Beach Party, will host back-to-back DJs GSP and Dan Slater for one epic set bringing a fusion of sounds from all around the world right to the dance floor. The entrance to this year’s Beach Party will be at 10th Street, two blocks south of its traditional home.

FEATURED EVENTS:

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, February 28 / 07:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Venue: Royal Palm South Beach

Localize

Thursday, February 29 / 07:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Venue: Nathan’s Beach Club

Ignite

Thursday, February 29 / 10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Venue: MAD Club

Featuring: DJs Leanh & Dawson

Elevate Pool Party

Date: Friday, March    1 / 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Royal Palm South Beach

Featuring: DJs Eliad Cohen & Jesus Montanez

VIP Cocktail Reception

Friday, March 1 / 07:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Venue: The Standard Miami Beach

Honoring: Jeff and Todd Delmay

HEAT

Friday, March 1 / 9:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.

Venue: Wynwood Marketplace

Featuring: DJs Deanne & Eddie Martinez

Under One Sun

Saturday, March 2 / 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Oasis Wynwood

Featuring: DJs Jace M and Derrick Carter

Fire & Ice

Saturday, March 2 / 10:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.

Venue: M2Nightclub

Featuring: DJs Calagna and Abel

The Beach Party

Sunday, March 3 / 1:00 p.m – 8:00 p.m.

Venue: Sands of South Beach at 10th Street

Featuring: DJs GSP and Dan Slater, spinning back-to-back

MasterBeat

Sunday, March 3 / 10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Venue: M2 Nightclub

Featuring: DJs Tomer Maizner & Sagi Kariv

AFTERGLOW

Monday, March 8 / 5:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue: LVL One Nightclub

Featuring: Tom Stephan

Action! Finale

Monday, March 4 / 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.

Venue: TBA

Featuring: Alex Acosta and Jerac

DJ Deanne

It was a pleasure to sit down with our friend, DJ Deanne, for this exclusive Hotpots Interview.

When did you realize you wanted to be a DJ? 

I came out of the closet when I was 24 and moved to Tampa. I started going to clubs which was something I hadn’t ever really done as a straight person. This was in the late 90’s, so I was hearing all those yummy house tunes (classics now) along with the big room mixes from Thunderpuss, Hex Hector, Junior Vasquez and so on and I was just hooked. I started acquiring all the music that I was hearing. At the clubs, I would try to ID the next song in the mix faster than anyone else. It was kind of an obsession for a while. It wasn’t until I moved back to Indiana in ‘99 to go back to school that I started bartending at a small gay club called Bullwinkle’s. The DJs at the bar used to let me practice on the turntables before we opened. I was fascinated and determined to learn how to mix. I started meeting more people in the scene and was gifted a used Technic 1200 turntable by my first mentor, Wayne Shepherd. I bought the rest of the equipment to make a set and began practicing at home. I would play afterhours parties with all my friends, learning without the pressure but with an audience. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was playing at that small gay bar in Indiana. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I was considering grad school, that I had a transformative DJ experience that changed my entire trajectory. I knew pretty much on that day grad school was out.

Where are you from, and what brought you to Florida?

I am originally from the Midwest, Kentucky to be exact. But, I spent most of my late 20’s and early 30’s in Indianapolis. As I spoke about, I was already a working DJ in Indianapolis, but I wasn’t fully committing all my time and effort to DJing full time. I had been coming down to play at Twist on a fairly regular basis over the years and was gaining more popularity and visibility in the Miami area. The vibe down there was just so different than in Indy and it would re-invigorate me until the next time. It just started feeling more and more like home on every visit until my wife and I moved to South Florida in 2013 to concentrate fully on this career. It felt like to me that Miami was going to be instrumental in really launching me and I was right.

What was your first residency, and how did that feel? 

The DJ who played the drag shows on Monday nights at Bullwinkle’s needed to give up that night and the club owner was convinced by the resident DJs to give me a chance. I mean, it was Monday night, so no one else really wanted the gig. I would play one hour before the shows started, about 30 minutes between each show, and about 2 hours after the shows were over. Virtually no one was there except for my 10 friends on that first night. I’m sure I train wrecked more than once. But the very first track I ever played was the Francois K and Eric Kupper mix of “Forever More” by Moloko. And I loved everything about the entire experience.

What separates you from other DJs?

That’s a tough question. I’m sure there is a lot about me that is much like other DJs. I consider myself very versatile. I can and enjoy playing appropriate, well-curated music for a diverse range of events. So often you go to parties where the DJs are just banging it out at a pool party at 2pm. I feel like there’s a time and place for different vibes, genres, tempos, styles. For that reason, I feel like my library is thick and deep. Since the pandemic, and this may be what sets me apart from others, I have been committed to only playing what feels true to my artistry and keeps me moving forward sonically. I think it’s time for our scene to grow and evolve, musically, and I want to be on the front end of that transformation. It’s risky sometimes, but the reward is immeasurable and immensely gratifying.

What are some memorable moments from the DJ booth?

There are so many. A few that stand out are the Masterbeat Spring Break party at Academy in 2023, Masterbeat Pride at Avalon in 2022, Atlanta Pride Closing Party in 2022, the Dallas Purple Party Main Event in 2019, so many of the Prides across the US over the years. Honestly, it could be a 5,000-person party or a 500-person party. If I’m hittin’ it and connect with the crowd, there really is no better feeling. And I am so lucky to have so many of those. But a true core memory is playing for Hillton Wolman’s Heat party in 2018 at Space on the Terrace. The place of legends.

Other than DJing, what do you like to do for fun?

I love to travel and sightsee. I really enjoy being a tourist in these cities that I play in. So much to see and experience. It really feeds my soul. 

Your wife, Nicole, is just as famous as you are, how did you meet and what makes her the perfect women for you?

Oh, she’ll love that you describe her in that way! Given the choice, I think most people would take her over me any day.  We met when I was working at the club in Indianapolis. She was secretly crushing on me for a long time. The universe and timing aligned, and our friendship transformed into a partnership, and we’ve been together for 14 years now (married for 9). What makes her perfect for me is that she is my best friend, she gives me space to be the complicated artist/person that I am, she supports my career, and she genuinely likes what I do and how it enhances our lives (most of the time). And it doesn’t hurt that she’s a stunner. 

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Tenacious, determined, and passionate. 

What should we expect from your set at HEAT on Friday March 1?

I am so excited to play for Hilton and Winter Party again after several years away. And super excited to share the night with Eddie Martinez. We’ve never played a party together and I think that our sounds are a perfect pairing. I’m playing first and I’ll be punching out a spicy set filled with lots of house music, a bit of attitude, a healthy dose of drums and mucho energy. Eddie plays very big and sexy, so I’ll be adding a touch of that, as well, to blend perfectly into his closing set. It should be a really fun night!

What does the future hold for you?

My travelling schedule is staying pretty full and I am so grateful for that. I have some amazing residencies across the US and am playing several key parties this year that are already on the books and I’m looking forward to adding more. Most importantly, I’ll be spending more time in the producer’s chair and getting back to making music. I have some lofty goals I have set for myself this year and I usually get what I set my sights on. So, stay tuned and let’s see what happens!

For more information on DJ Deanne or to see where she will be playing next, follow her on Instagram.com/djdeanne.

The 31st Annual Winter Party Festival celebration is made possible by the support of sponsors and partners including Bacardi, the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, Miami Dade-County, and many more listed here. Media sponsors include Edge Media, equalpride, Hotspots! Magazine, Happening Out, and SkirtSoFlo. 

Individual event tickets and event passes are available at Winterparty.org.

About the National LGBTQ Task Force:

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That’s why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. For more information, go to https://www.thetaskforce.org.

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