Sunday, January 16, 2011


The 2011 Winter events in Miami have caused a drama to one of the festivals, the WPF (gay event) originally scheduled for March 9 to 14, had to be moved one week ahead due to conflicting schedules with the WMC (straight event). WMC is way bigger than WPF so the later one had no choice but move its date.

This is not a problem unless you had already booked the airfare and hotels for your party week. It is understandable WPF had no choice but I sympathize with the party goers that had to dish out major cash to change their itineraries if they wanted to be at the WPF. In my opinion, I wouldn't change my schedule and instead I would just experience the WMC.

From the Winter Party Festival Chair
by Winter Party Festival on Friday, November 26, 2010 at 3:17pm
Dear Friends,

After reading some of the responses to the announcement of our date change, I felt it was my responsibility to explain in more detail the circumstances that brought us to this point. I understand all of the frustration and anger – we pride ourselves on providing an excellent guest experience. The fact that this situation was really out of our control is no consolation for the regret I feel over the unhappiness it has caused.

We made the decision last spring to move Winter Party from its traditional week to the week following it so that our guests would not have to choose between us and Brazil’s Carnival or Australia’s Mardi Gras. For the past few years Winter Music Conference – an event which literally takes over South Beach for several days -- has always been at the end of March, a full two weeks after the dates we chose for WPF ’11. We can’t finalize our dates without the City of Miami Beach’s approval, and we assumed the same was true for Winter Music Conference. What we learned through this experience is that Winter Music Conference does not need the City’s permission for its dates because the conference itself does not use public property.

We were all completely stunned when Winter Music Conference announced on November 16, less than four months in advance, that it had knowingly decided to select dates that overlapped Winter Party Festival. We immediately began receiving calls from those in the community who know how that event alters the landscape of South Beach to change our dates. We first tried to convince Winter Music Conference to change their dates, but they declined. The City of Miami Beach met with the same response when it tried to convince them to reschedule. We originally intended to weather the storm and leave our schedule unchanged, but within 48 hours we had lost two venues, were in danger of losing a third and had seen hotel rates soar. We were told airfares to South Florida would soon skyrocket as well. It seemed evident that if we did not reschedule we would wind up with a Festival that was far from the spectacular experience our guests expect. We knew this would cause issues for some of our guests, but it was unavoidable if we wanted to preserve the Festival experience that compels people around the world to board a jet to come here.

I began as a volunteer for Winter Party Festival because I believe in what the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force does for LGBT causes on the national and local level, and the last thing I would want to do is harm the future of the Festival by upsetting any of our cherished guests. We are working with the City to find a way to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future. I am asking everyone who has experienced a significant inconvenience from this date change to contact us at We are keeping a record of every difficulty our guests have experienced to show how important it is that this never happen again.

I apologize for the angst this has caused, but I do hope we will see you in March.

Chad Richter

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