“We are here, we are queer and we are not going anywhere.”
By Paul Hutnick
Disregarding HRC’s warning against travel to Florida, URGE Miami Festival will take place November 24-27 with three massive nighttime events and two sizzling daytime fetes including the Royal Palm Pool Party and the legendary Beach Party on the sands of South Beach. Produced by Luis Morera, Billy Kemp and Hilton Wolman, the LGBTQ+ festival weekend will feature a list of the world’s most famous circuit DJs including Grammy Award winning DJ and producer Roger Sanchez playing at the city’s most prestigious venues.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group in the USA, issued its travel advisory against Florida in May in response to the state’s anti-LGBTQ legislation. As a result, gay travelers have been apprehensive to visit Miami and local gay businesses are suffering. Events like Urge Miami Festival are more important now than ever before to keep the local LGBTQ+ businesses alive.
“We need to stand strong against Governor DeSantis and all right-wing conservative bullies and prove that we cannot be silenced by showing our support to the local LGBTQ+ business community,” says producer Hilton Wolman. “We are here, we are queer and we are not going anywhere.”
In addition to ushering in tourist dollars to the area, a portion of the proceeds from URGE Miami Festival will benefit Miami Beach Pride, an organization that celebrates the unique spirit and culture of the city’s LGBTQ+ population.
URGE Miami Festival kicks off Friday, November 24 at 10pm with LA LECHE at M2 nightclub. The event marks Barcelona’s Matinee Group return to the magic city and producers are promising a level of production that has not been seen before in Miami. DJ’s Orel Sabag, Jerac and Ivan Gomez will man the decks. Dancers from Spain and Europe will keep the milk pouring on the dancefloor into the wee morning hours. Guests are encouraged to arrive dressed in white.
At 2pm on Saturday is the Royal Palm South Beach pool party, presented by Mexico’s premiere party producer, ARENA. DJs Alexis Tucci and Brazil’s Rick Braile will raise the temps with their high energy beats, making extensive use of the incredible facilities offered by Royal Palm. Expect plenty of splish-splash fun and gorgeous men in skimpy bikinis.
The revelry continues Saturday night with an 80’s revival theme party at the recently remodeled MAD Live, located in the heart of the Wynwood arts and fashion district. DJs Alex Lo and Mor Avrahami will whisk music fans back in time to the era of Pac Man and the Rubik’s Cube, when MTV introduced the music video and launched the careers of many iconic artists. It leads to the signature event of the weekend: the long-established Sunday Beach Party on the sands of South Beach.
This year’s sandblast is moving eight blocks north of last year’s party, to 20th and Collins, just south of the W Hotel. The Sunday afternoon event will feature a cabana stripe theme that pays homage to the mod fashion movement of 1960’s Miami. There will also be interactive activities, music by DJs Dan Slater and Joe Gauthreaux and a grand firework show.
“Our beach party is one of America’s biggest LGBTQ beach parties and attracts fans from all over the world,” Wolman explains. “It is an experience in itself!”
The weekend’s Main Event takes place Sunday night at M2 nightclub. This year’s party is titled URGE-Verse and will be headlined by the Grammy Award winning DJ and producer Roger Sanchez along with Tom Stephan, flying in from the UK, and Cesar Hernandez. The décor will be avant-garde and guests are encouraged to arrive in yellow.
This year’s host hotel is the Royal Palm South Beach. With 400 rooms, more than a quarter of which are suites, the Royal Palm is one of South Beach’s largest hotels, superbly located directly on the beach on Collins at the end of Ocean Drive. It offers a superior experience and will serve as the location of URGE Miami Festival’s Welcome Center and Saturday Pool Party. Complimentary transportation will be provided from/to Royal Palm South Beach for all weekend events.
Tickets for the 2023 URGE Miami Festival are available now at urgemiamifestival.com