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Miami Madness

Part one of the DJmag blog direct from Miami's WMC

Arriving from the ice wastes of snow-covered England into the fertile, febrile, humid and palm-fringed Floridian capital for the Miami Winter Music Conference was a balm to the souls of the DJmag gang. Each year, the madness descends on the bustling sub-tropical metropolis of Miami for arguably the most important dance music event of the year, and 2008's edition was shaping up to be one of the most significant yet. With the list of DJs playing looking like God's own festival bill, it could only be amazing.

Arriving tired and jetlagged after a long flight, each of us dumped our bags at our respective hotels – most of them hosting several major parties over the course of the week – and set off into the Art Deco maze of streets around Collins Avenue and South Beach. This was Tuesday, and accordingly, the parties weren't in full swing yet; instead, an air of anticipation hung in the hazy, salty air as visitors and locals alike contemplated the insanity that was to come the next day. DJs – everyone from the SOS crew to Anthony Pappa and Steve Lawler were to be found in the hotels on Collins, grinning and joshing, amped by the atmosphere.

To break us into the party mode gently, the DJ crew converged on Automatic Slims – a bizarre '50s styled bar half Pulp Fiction, half Coyote Ugly owing to the bar-top dancing barmaids – for eclectic sets from the likes of Danny Howells. With the bar rammed to the rafters with a conflagration of spring breakers, WMC veterans, and assembled crazies, Howells got us going with everything from NWA to '80s cheese, all impeccably mixed (of course). Retreating to rest our weary heads, the DJmag massive could only dream of what tomorrow would bring…