There is one thing that has also caught my attention, and it is the friction between the organizers of the festival and Peter Rauhofer & the Opium Group, which are hosting their own party, not affiliated to the festival, at the same time.
It would be interesting to see what was the official reaction by Peter, if there was any, to the open letter released in January about this matter.
What do you think about this situation? Read the open letter below or check the website Stop Peter.
January 25, 2010
OPEN LETTER TO DJ/PRODUCER PETER RAUHOFER AND THE OWNERS OF THE OPIUM GROUP
We are writing to you about a very special annual celebration that benefits the South Florida community on many levels – the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Winter Party Festival. The 2010 Festival will take place March 3-8. As it has for many years, the Festival will support and be supported by many Miami Beach businesses. The Opium Group has benefited from an immense amount of business from Winter Party Festival over the years. This year, however, The Opium Group has not only decided to host a competing party, it has also declined to contract with the Task Force for use of either of its South Beach nightclub properties. While the Task Force has found another venue for its Sunday night party, we are very disappointed that you have withdrawn support from this important annual fundraising event.
We believe that you may not be aware of the serious repercussions this business decision may have on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of South Florida. Winter Party Festival is the largest annual fundraising event produced by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, our country’s oldest, most enduring national organization dedicated to achieving equality for the LGBT community. What makes it truly unique is that two-thirds of the net proceeds are distributed to nonprofit organizations serving the Miami-Dade LGBT community through a grant-making program administered by the Dade Community Foundation. In the past five years, nearly $800,000 in proceeds from the Task Force’s Miami events has been distributed to local organizations.
The dollar amount dispersed last year was significantly less than the amount raised in previous years, in part because a competing event at The Opium Group’s Mansion property resulted in a 32% decrease in revenue for Winter Party Festival’s 2009 Sunday night dance party. As a result, there was less money to be distributed to the Dade Community Foundation’s sixteen grant recipients, including the ACLU Foundation of Florida, Center for Communications on HIV/AIDS, Equality Florida, Miami Beach Gay Pride, Pridelines Youth Services, Safe Schools South Florida, SAVE Foundation and Switchboard of Miami.
Winter Party Festival buoys many local businesses by bringing in over 10,000 people from around the world to shop, dine and experience the Miami Beach nightlife. In fact, the Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority awards the Task Force with a sizable grant each year to enhance the Festival’s marketing efforts. The Festival’s centerpiece event, the Beach Party, is the attraction that draws approximately 10,000 guests from around the world to Miami Beach, but it is the other dance parties that allow the Festival to generate a healthy return on investment. The Sunday night dance party, in particular, is critical to the Festival’s success.
The economic crisis our country has been experiencing has negatively affected individual giving. As a result, our local organizations are more dependent than ever on grants. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and its team of dedicated South Florida volunteers have been working extremely hard for the past nine months to ensure that the pool of money from the 2010 Festival is larger than ever. The production of a successful Sunday evening dance party is crucial to achieving this goal. It is inevitable that a competing event targeted at the same audience will make this objective even more difficult to meet.
While we realize that that your plans for 2010 are already in place, we hope that, equipped with a better understanding of what Winter Party Festival means to our local community, you will not sponsor a competing party next year. We also hope that you will consider making one of your venues available to the Task Force in 2011. In the meantime, we ask you to support the Festival and its mission of raising funds for the LGBT community by making a sizeable donation to the Task Force.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force would welcome a further dialogue about Winter Party Festival and the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. The organization can be reached through Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director of External Relations, at 202.639.6324.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
Executive Artistic Director
South Beach Chamber Ensemble
Willis “Chip” Arndt
Executive Vice President
Executive Editor and Publisher
Retail Marketing Director
Chair, GLBT Community Projects Fund
Dade Community Foundation
Pridelines Youth Services
SoBe Social Club
Pridelines Youth Services
Stephen Greenberg Designs
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Safe Schools South Florida
Jake Miller, Esq.
Attorney and Counsellor at Law
Law Offices of Jake Miller
Shore Club Miami
Associate Vice President of Cultural Tourism
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
Retail Sales Manager
Kiehl’s Since 1851
South Beach Insurance Agency, Inc.
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
The Strand Ocean Drive