Nightlife » Special Events

Miami’s Winter Party...All About Her!

by JC Alvarez
Wednesday Mar 6, 2013

Miami's South Beach is steeped in beating the heat with back-to-back big winter musical festivals. The dance/remix music industry is about to bounce on the art deco decadence of Ocean Drive for the time honored Winter Music Conference, but before that can happen, the beach scene will be warming up with the Winter Party Festival. Now in its 20th year, the party is still drawing the biggest names and hottest DJs in the country.

This year's event is far from slacking. Headlining the notoriously popular "Beach Party" on Sunday Mar. 10th will be none other than Masterbeat's own Brett Henrichsen, who is becoming the lead beach party DJ on the Circuit scene. As if that isn't enough to raise the sun-soaked BPMs, he'll be joined by returning Miami Beach favorite and perhaps the scene's best looking mixmaster, DJ Joe Gauthreaux. That is one hell of a double billing...and that's just detailing what folks can expect on Sunday.

The Winter Party Festival benefitting the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force pulled no punches this year in celebrating the landmark anniversary to prove that Miami is enviably the center of the thriving dance scene in the country. It's also giving the West Coast ladies preparing for their annual Palm Springs pilgrimage to attend The Dinah, a reason to rethink those vacation plans.

This year the Winter Party Festival is all about "Her". Marivi Iglesias has taken on the task of making sure that the ladies have as much to celebrate on the beach as their brazen and bronzed brothers. So grab your bikinis and get set to party. Girls don't just want to have fun...they plan on ruling the South Beach scene.

The Circuit Springs Eternal

The Winter Party Festival continues a tradition of bringing the city together and drawing partygoers from all over the world. Why has this event remained so consistent in its delivery to the masses? Is it the Riviera-like feel of Miami? "I think many factors come together to create Winter Party’s amazing week of events," says Iglesias. "Miami’s energy, weather and crowd really resonates for our attendees. On top of that, you throw in our high production quality and fabulous DJs and how could it not be a draw?"

Iglesias also credits the community’s dedication and efforts to support the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Its staff of hundreds of dedicated volunteers prepare to make this annual event a successful fund-raising experience that is also one of the countries biggest music events, and when you have to compete with Palm Springs and New York City, there is something appealing about Miami in the winter.

"We see from our increased attendance year after year that people still want to come together, dance and have a great time." Iglesias has noticed the party continues to grow and doesn’t see a slip in the demand for the Circuit Party experience. "I’ve been attending Winter Party for years and, until this day, still get goose bumps when I walk onto the sand of the Beach Party. The music is an integral part. I can’t imagine that concept ever being a dying breed."

All About "Her".

Continuing to draw on its ability to remain diverse and appealing to all partygoers, Iglesias was charged with delving into a program that would inspire the ladies to participate in the Winter Party Festival in their own unique environment. The result is "Her Winter Party" experience.

"It’s wonderful to be able to offer the ladies a series of events as part of Winter Party. And it’s a super exciting thing to see our gay male friends attending those events. Seeing boys dancing salsa at Pa’Ella or participating in the art auction at ’ArtScape’ is wonderful."

There are four events specially designed to appeal to the lesbian party set, all run congruently with the rest of the Winter Party Festival Weekend of activities. "Her Winter Party opens on Thursday (Mar. 7) with ’ArtScape’ at the spectacular Fifty Lounge at the Viceroy," Iglesias begins. Friday is the big Latin dance event "Pa’Ella" which is being held this year at the TL Lounge in Wynwood. "Saturday is our signature dance event Industry at Safi Club in Downtown Miami," she continues, "and finally we close with the ’Women’s Brunch’ at Terrazza at the Shore Club Hotel in South Beach."

The DJ is an integral part of the party and the headliners at the ladies’ events are just as big a draw as the major Circuit contenders on the regular schedule. "DJ GiGi is keeping the Latin rhythm and house music spinning for Pa’Ella," Iglesias revealed, "and DJ La Trice is doing her thing at Industry. I’m looking forward to hearing them both." As it has become part and parcel of most big events, a celebrity performer or two will be expected to drop by. Her Winter Party will be featuring sexy starlet Jessica "Lilith" Clark from the HBO series "True Blood" and the band Palo! will be bringing down the house at Pa’Ella.

The Start of the Season

Preparing to engage its audience in a distinctly South Beach experience, Iglesias is confident that this year’s twentieth edition of the Winter Party Festival will resonate as one for the record books. "Miami is definitely one of the top markets on the party culture map," says Iglesias, "which is part of what makes us such a popular destination. It’s nice though that with the city’s evolution, there are many other reasons why tourists flock here and it’s not just about the partying." The city’s cultural identity has bloomed with renowned film festivals, a growing foodie scene, artfully popular attractions and so much more.

And does Iglesias feel the ladies will be partying just as hard as their male counterparts at this year’s Winter Party Festival? "I think the biggest misconception is that the ladies scene centers around sports bars featuring beer, pool tables and dated music. It doesn’t! Our events, and others like them, include everything from chic brunches and cool art auctions, to fabulous DJ sets and spectacular entertainment. Yes...the ladies can party just as ruthlessly and I absolutely love that I’m seeing more and more women at the Beach Party. It’s really about the community as a whole coming together to have a good time."

Winter Party Festival is only the beginning of South Beach’s series of music events attracting the most beautiful people from all over the world and one of the country’s most revelatory destinations. The party starts Mar. 6 and goes through Mar. 11. For more information on Winter Party Festival go to

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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