As much of the country remains closed due to the pandemic, Miami is spearheading the country’s re-opening. Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order setting the state to Phase 3 re-opening, which allowed bars and clubs to re-open. Even then, Miami was not allowing bars and clubs to operate. Now not only are they operating, but a recent legal victory lifted the county-wide curfew as well. Miami is almost fully back in business – with social-distancing of course.

We spoke to some of Miami’s party planners and promoters about what the re-opening means for them and how they’ve weathered the tough months since March.

BLNK CNVS (Eric Fuller/Paul Reed)

Tell us briefly about your company, your venues, and some of your past events. 

EF (Eric Fuller) – Our company, BLNK CNVS, is an event and promotional company.  We’ve worked with several venues here in Miami from Club Space to pop up venues like MANA Wynwood.  We are most known for our Miami Music Week and Art Basel event series.

PR (Paul Reed) – We have done a ton of notable events in the market, I think people especially know us for the Summer Series we did at Club Space or some of the crazy MMW events like Deadbeats Goes off the Deep End or the first-ever Eric Prydz b2b Adam Beyer

Tell us what it was like for you when Ultra got cancelled and then the aftermath which ultimately led to everything else being cancelled as well.

EF –  I’m ashamed to say that I really didn’t see it coming.  When Ultra cancelled, I was so busy planning for our 20 something events that I didn’t quite think it all through.  Once we got the word we had to cancel the satellite events, I was just devastated.  We had a lot of loose ends to tie up so you couldn’t just sit and a room and cry about it.  It was one of the worst experiences i’ve ever had to deal with.  

PR – I think for me it was more shock than anything, like wow this is really happening. MMW 20 was shaping up to be incredible for our company but we just had to keep our chins up and move forward once we knew things were canceled. 

What have you and your company been doing since March? How has it been for you? 

EF – We haven’t done much aside for plan for the future.  Working on new projects and concepts.  For example, we announced a partnership with one of the largest independent promoters in Canada, MRG Live.  We are going to help expand their footprint in the Dance scene across their venues. 

PR – Like Eric said it’s really been planning mode. We don’t often get to hit the  pause button during event season so it’s been interesting to have the time to really brain storm and plan for what we can do in the future.  

How excited were you to find out clubs and bars could re-open? 

EF – Very excited, but we are proceeding with caution.  I fully support the governors position and think our mayor of the country Carlos Giminez is really out of touch with his constituents.  How can strip clubs, Disneyworld and hotels open but bars, restaurants, clubs, outdoor venues have to remain closed?  It makes no sense to me.  He’s in an incredibly tough position, but I’m not following his logic with the curfews.  Thankfully our Governor’s orders supersede his.

PR – Cautiously optimistic, I really want to get back throwing amazing shows for the dance music fans here in FL but we need to do it the right way and make sure everyone is safe. That’s our first priority. 

What’s your return blueprint? How are you gearing back up?

EF – We are planning to announce some events very, very soon.

PR – Definitely have some cool things in the works, don’t wanna share just yet but all I have to say is keep an eye on our socials in the next month…. 

Are you going to try new things that you wouldn’t have before?

EF – Yes absolutely.  

PR – 100%, its really important to keep innovating and especially with everything we have gone through this year. It’s changed the music and events business in a lot of ways and I think fans are def going to expect the fan experience to be different in the future. 

Do you have events coming up? Tell us what you have planned and plug your next event.

PR – Not going to give away the secrets just yet. Keep an eye on our socials and you will know it when you see it. Like always tho BLNK CNVS always puts together some of the best events in South FL. 

What do you think is going to happen with Miami Music Week?

EF – At this point I’m afraid it will not happen in 2021.  It’s still too early to tell but 

PR – I agree with Eric, too hard to know at this point. Some really good signs from other places in FL but like ERic brought up earlier there is some more political stuff at play here that could prevent MMW even if the rest of FL is open in March. We are going to watch what happens over the next couple of months and see where we end up. 

Apex Presents (Luccio)

Tell us briefly about your company, your venues, and some of your past events.

  • A Little history behind us (Apex Presents): We founded our Company in 2016, after we ended our cycle with EDM Powerhouse Committee Ent (Life in Color/Dayglow) A Lifestyle Company from Formerly known as SFX. We used to produce all the major 18+ events at Club Space, Nocturnal, Club Cinema+ Others. When we parted ways we had a clear vision of where we wanted to be. We wanted to continue our shows at these selected venues & evolve our sound. One thing led to another and we ended Building a Major BASS Festival with its own Identity Named Forbidden Kingdom, that was a dream of us from the gecko & thanks to all those years of experience we made that reality. Today it’s an established brand heading towards a great direction thanks to my biz partner ( Pepe Vargas ) that is taking the major role with the Fest. On the other side of the coin that’s where I come in the most as I take full on control on the weekly programing at Treehouse Miami. My Journey at Treehouse began in 2018 After MMW Ended, My Time at Heart nightclub was up & I had bunch of projects in the pipeline & due to unfortunate reasons I couldn’t continue some shows at a venue I was looking forward to work with because the owner had basically cut me off, saying another promoter was promising an unreal bar guaranteed, just to kick us out. I was pretty bummed out because I had shows confirmed, announced & on sale. But like they always say, once a door closed others open & you best believe that happened. The Next Day Treehouse team contacted me to see if I was interested in working there. I was never a fan of the beach & had only been to Treehouse like twice, so I wasn’t too convinced until I said “you know what let’s go for it” & the rest is History! I fell in love with the venue, the team, staff . Everything about Treehouse just felt right. We managed to create amazing residencies & bring back acts that Miami was missing like : Dirty South, Ferry Corsten, Paul van Dyk, Jody Wisternoff , Creating a bunch of Anjunadeep & beats tours and until right now we are here back at it after being closed due to Covid 19 for 7 months.

Tell us what it was like for you when Ultra got cancelled and then the aftermath which ultimately led to everything else being cancelled as well.

  • Well this goes back to the year before Covid when UMF went to Virginia key & I knew that was going to impact us & our industry in general, due to that distance & hours of operations. So, fast forward to 2020, I was super excited to see UMF back at its original spot, after so much drama with the city. Then, when the pandemic started for us back in March, it was a chain reaction of bad things happening one after the other one, I remember talking with in the team, just counting the days. Those were the longest days ever, it was so stressful, trying to advance shows, send payments, get the marketing campaigns going but at the same time not knowing what was going to happen. So the moment UMF announced their cancellation it hit me hard in the face. It was a mix of things and shows picked up dramatically because people knew clubs were going to be limited with capacity, so we were excited but at the same time scrambling to build last minute additions on our lineups + at the same time we were worried until the domino effect started to occur which that was just the beginning of this nightmare.

What have you and your company been doing since March? How has it been for you?

  • After the pandemic started in March we didn’t know where to begin, obviously we needed to start the refund process as quickly as possible, It was a pain to sort all that out, but we are fortunate enough to be able to work and have a magnificent relationship with these agencies & Artists so the process was done successfully with in a short period of time to be able to refund all customers . After that was done I jumped really heavy in the studio once again finished a lot of unfinished tracks , launched my record label & built some really big online Trance & Progressive online events even though we wanted to believe this would of end by June. We continued doing the streams working on the label & music to try to be ahead of the game & not wait for the gates to open to start again. We definitely raised the bar in our office , we knew we needed to stay relevant and consistent with our relationships.

How excited were you to find out clubs and bars could re-open?

  • Beyond excited to be honest, it’s been a success for us & our team, obviously we have to be responsible, we are fortunate to be able to continue operating our business. I know there were a lot of businesses that closed down, and obviously that’s not good for our scene. However, we still need to be cautious & be on edge because at this point anything is possible, even the worst so, I just hope & pray everyone is doing well & doing the right thing so we can continue with our business.

What’s your return blueprint? How are you gearing back up?

  • Well it’s a lot of thing we must do, first off Wash our hands LOL
    Sanitizing the entire venue, Following all CDC protocols of social distancing, building a New vip Dancefloor & enforcing new rules so we can be able to carry on with a safe environment at the venue, Putting plexiglass on bars, cashiers, cleaning every 30 minutes, it’s an endless list that we must do. & we are only getting better at it by the day as we get used to this new normal. our main goal is to provide a safe environment for both artists & customers.

Are you going to try new things that you wouldn’t have before?

  • Def not trying the vaccine LOL
    We are definitely going to be taking things week by week until we get more comfortable with this new normal, so definitely going to be conservative in a lot of aspects and focus more into the customer experience. people want to go out and have fun, right now it doesn’t matter who plays, what matters now its to try to take your hospitality into a new level and make the customer fall in love with just the environment more than just an act so that would be my new thing we will be focusing on more.

Do you have events coming up? Tell us what you have planned and plug your next event.

  • Yes & i am super excited for them, We recently just had our Opening weekend with Trance Rising star Chris Schweizer. Our upcoming weeks we will have names like Jerome Isma Ae, Stacey Pullen , Roger Sanchez + More just to name a few, we are def going to keep our momentum from what we are known from but def implement the new ideas on customer experience.

What do you think is going to happen with Miami Music Week?

  • Oh man I wish i had a multiple choice answer here to guess this one. because i would.
    Lot of things are happening behind the curtains with big players, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone comes in and steps into the plate, however I am freestyling here just speculating what could happen. With the uncertainty of Festivals & UMF not being in their best shape or form like previous years due to site relocation in 2019 + the Pandemic + all the other legal issues with their customers, I see this very difficult for 2021. however I am optimistic that it will def return. I am just not certain if it would be 2021, there is an infinite amount of work to do & with all these travel restrictions happening and other major brands swifting I see this extremely difficult.

I hope we come back, that’s all we have to say. We are ready & we are planning like it’s happening.

Humans Alike (Travis Rogers)

Tell us briefly about your company, your venues, and some of your past events. 

My company is called Humans Alike, we’ve been doing events in Miami for nearly 15 years. Currently, I host popup events designed around Covid regulations but I’ve been involved with Treehouse, 1800 Lucky, Wynwood Factory & Surfcomber Pool Parties before the pandemic. We’re probably most known for our roles in Heart Nightclub, Club Space in the past as well as dozens of other medium and large-scale popup events throughout South Florida.

Tell us what it was like for you when Ultra got cancelled and then the aftermath which ultimately led to everything else being cancelled as well.

It was pretty devastating for us. We usually start preparing for these events in November and it takes an army of staff and marketing to make these things happen, so to get canceled days before our first event was a big heart breaker. Though we are relentless and having been working non-stop to do whatever we can to bring events back safely.

What have you and your company been doing since March? How has it been for you? 

First few months we just used it as time to disconnect, it’s rare we get multiple weekends off in a row so going to sleep by midnight was nice for a while. Then boredom set in and ultimately, we all missed what we love doing. Then I found of balance of enjoying family time and figure out what this new normal could mean or other ways to get events back. I also manage some artists so on that side just helping with their music projects and business admin stuff.

How excited were you to find out clubs and bars could re-open?

Very excited we are taking steps in the right direction. Though with curfew still in place it’s not ideal. Also the current rules make it nearly impossible for most venues to operated even though they’ll all try.

What’s your return blueprint? How are you gearing back up?

Right now I’m focusing on outdoor events as our property size allows us to put every measure in place and still create an enjoyable experience given what is going on.

Are you going to try new things that you wouldn’t have before?

I’m focusing a lot on artist management these days which has been pretty exciting, really want to keep pursuing this avenue alongside my events.

Do you have events coming up? Tell us what you have planned and plug your next event.

This Sunday I’m doing my Relic party which has been going on for nearly 2 years at Basecamp. I welcome anyone who wants to hear some good music and have a good time. We have plenty of room to dance safely.

What do you think is going to happen with Miami Music Week?

I’m trying to stay optimistic. I think if we can make it to December without any major spikes or our leaders rolling back phases then we should be fine for March.