Jake Resnicow knows how to throw a party. He's hosted major events during New York Pride and helped produce Europe's biggest HIV/AIDS charity event, Life Ball. Out magazine even singled him out as part of its Out100 list in 2018 on the strength of his party-planning skills.
Resnicow, who splits his time between New York City and Miami, will put his event expertise to good use when he hosts Dreamland New Year's Festival, a three-day event in Miami that will take over several venues across the city and feature some of the hottest pop and dance music talent out there.
"My very first event was in Governors Island in 2010," Resnicow says. "I produce events for [the LGBTQ+] community, and I'm really proud we produce some of the biggest Pride festivals in the country. I'm really focused on creating unique experiences like we recently did on Isla Mujeres [in Mexico] with Utopia."
Indeed, the idea for Dreamland came out from Resnicow's Utopia party series, which started in the Poconos around a year and a half ago. He wanted to create a place for LGBTQ+ partygoers to come together through a series of events that focused not just on music but wellness and community as well.
"One of the coolest things we hear from people about our events is that they make so many new friends, and they connect and engage on a spiritual level," he explains.
Though Resnicow has hosted New Year's parties before — including a rooftop party at the Besty Hotel in 2017 — Dreamland marks the first time he's done a festival to celebrate the new year. He hopes the event becomes something people can look forward to annually if all goes well.
And while Dreamland is more than just a music event, the artists who'll perform reflect Resnicow's mission of delivering top-tier talent. Anyone who has ever attended a circuit party can tell you the level of talent isn't always there. Resnicow, though, wants to book the same level of acts that you may see at Coachella or Lollapalooza in a space that caters to queer people.
For instance, in 2019, he made headlines when he booked Norwegian DJ-producer Kygo for his New York Pride event.
"One of the things that makes this festival unique is that every party is outdoors in the open air, which is great, of course, for safety," Resnicow says. [Editor's note: New Times interviewed Resnicow before the effects of the Omicron variant had become apparent.]
In the name of safety, attendees will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours or a vaccination card in order to gain entry. COVID-19 testing will also be available on-site.
Beyond the party atmosphere, Dreamland provides visibility. Glancing at the headlines, it can feel like LGBTQ+ people are more vulnerable than ever to attacks. In that context, parties like Dreamland may seem frivolous, but they can be imbued with a sense of activism by the act of merely existing and having fun in the face of adversity.
"I got a beautiful message of LinkedIn from a father who said his 23-year-old son just told him that he was gay and [the father] says he was going to call him to tell him that he and his friends were coming to Dreamland as their coming-out," Resnicow says. "That made me smile because that's what we are trying to create — a space where people come to express themselves and be who they are."
Those interested in attending Dreamland can either experience the event as an all-inclusive package with a hotel stay through Pollen (the same company that hosted Day of the Deadmau5 during the Halloween weekend) or purchase tickets to the individual events.
"Miami for New Year's can be super expensive, and we were able to offer packages starting at just $500 including a three-night hotel stay over the weekend plus passes, and a lot of those have sold out," Resnicow notes.
Dreamland New Year's Festival. Thursday, December 30, through Saturday, January 1, at various locations in Miami and Miami Beach; takemetodreamland.com. Ticket prices vary.