Mash Bash

Is the Winter Music Conference ready to grow up? Praga Bhandari thinks so.

"You could say our event represents a maturing of the music audience," says the drummer for Formula One, a band that specializes in "dirty rock and roll." The New York City outfit will be one of several acts performing during the UrbanGroove party at the Soho Lounge, which promises to effectively bring together several genres into a no-attitude, come-as-you-are, three-stage bash.

Bhandari -- a founder of UrbanGroove, a promotions company and marketing firm that focuses on underground music and urban culture -- has attended WMC for the past five years. After the success of last year's soiree, which starred house DJ Junior Sanchez alongside "rocktro" act Output and drew more than 1200 people, he felt the time was right to expand its mash-up theme even further. So this year Sanchez and Output will be joined by rock acts such as Moving Units, White Light Motorcade, and Har Mar Superstar; the DJs will range from hip-hoppers like Mr. Len and DJ Language to four-to-the-floor house producer Armand Van Helden.

Long known as a DJ showcase, WMC is now evolving into an all-inclusive dance festival that also features indie-rock, electro, and hip-hop. Gone are the days when it was just about house and jungle, with no room for punk. "We're coming down here to make a statement," says Bhandari. "Music is music and the more styles we have, the better."

UrbanGroove presents Groovepad from Saturday, March 6, to Tuesday, March 9, at Creek Hotel; Chakra on Saturday, March 6, at Red; and Band-DJs on Sunday, March 7, at Soho Lounge. See listings for more info.


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