Win Factor

Two awards shows -- one upstart, one established -- battle for the dance music industry's respect

Ruffell counters that "there are many other people who do events around other events. The Super Bowl happens once a year, but there's probably 200 events that happen around it. When we were talking about dates and where we could do it, the industry [people] said, 'Look, a lot of people come down to Miami at that time of year, so that's where you should do it,'" he says. "I think, long-term, whether the show stays in Miami, we're not sure, but it will certainly stay in Miami for the next three or four years, because Miami is the perfect home for DanceStar."

Later Ruffell extended that timeline to "the next ten years. The only reason the show would move is because of the demands of broadcasters," he added.

In the end any dispute between DanceStar USA and WMC is something of a fait accompli. While not divulging any names, Ruffell says he's negotiating with several networks to broadcast this year's awards show.

Andy Ruffell, future king of the awards shows?
Steve Satterwhite
Andy Ruffell, future king of the awards shows?

Details

Takes place at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at Lummus Park, Ocean Drive and Eighth Street, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $20 to $60. Call 305-358-5885. The International Dance Music Awards takes place at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts. Tickets cost $15 to $45 for WMC delegates. Call 954-563-4444.

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Undoubtedly aware of how the ADMA may adversely impact the IDMA's influence in the record industry, WMC is moving its event from last year's Level nightclub to the more prestigious Jackie Gleason Theater. It's the same venue DanceStar USA used last year.

Asked about the coincidence, Ruffell simply answers, "We've kind of outgrown the Gleason, I guess." Instead the ADMA will be held at Lummus Park in Miami Beach on Wednesday, March 19, a day before the IDMA. "We're expecting 3000 to 4000 people, and we wanted to do something different," he says.

In many ways the standoff illustrates WMC's ever-evolving role in what has become more than a mere industry conference. Unfortunately, by resisting the "opportunists," the organization that started the party in the first place risks irrelevance, or worse, obsolescence. But no one wants that to happen. After all it's the panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities like the IDMA, which WMC provides for aspiring musicians and label owners eager to survive in the music industry, that make a difference. Without them this infamous week-long celebration could become a hedonistic exercise as soulless and predictable as a pilgrimage to Ibiza. Ruffell says, "We're pleased with what WMC has done for Miami, and we're very pleased with what they've done for dance music."

Of course that won't stop him from trying to build one of the biggest music shows in America. But he thinks "there's plenty of room for everybody here."

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