Winter Music Conference

WMC survival basics

The 25th annual Winter Music Conference is upon us, and we couldn't be more excited for the freaks, dance geeks, hipsters, and rage monsters to invade our town. But you can't run into the week without a plan. Here's a basic survival guide. Study up so you don't fail miserably once it's time to get down.

Trust no one. OK, let's rephrase: Trust no one except your friends. Sure, it's fun to dance and recruit lifelong WMC buddies, but there are just some people on which you must take a pass. No matter who approaches and says they have a hookup on a heady sack of chronic, know that the guy with one tooth and a month-old coffee cup will take your money and run across the tracks. Don't be stupid. On the same note, don't trust out-of-town promoters. If someone offers to help you skip an entry line in exchange for a C-note, close your eyes, fall out of your funk, and realize it's a hoax.

Protect your stash. It's Miami, kids. You never know when we might suffer a midday monsoon. Or maybe you'll be hitting up pool parties and getting into all kinds of antics thanks to those mushroom chocolates your old college roommate was able to score for your reunion. Plastic bags will bust — think twice and invest in some hardware so your party favors don't get fucked. And although we know nobody uses old-school cameras anymore, those film canisters sure are useful.

Say no to cabs. With all the traffic, cabs will get you nowhere fast, and they're the quickest way to lose loot. We're certainly not condoning DUIs either. If you're sticking to either downtown or the Beach, we recommend using a little thing called your legs. You're going to be dancing on those stems all day anyway — what are a few extra blocks? And while we don't recommend biking over the Julia Tuttle Causeway, you could always soar like an eagle, depending on what kind of trip you're on.

Plan ahead. We know you've stocked up on rubbers in case you get lucky with some neon-clad, furry boot-wearing rage princess, because you're smart (when you're sober at least). But how's it gonna look if you swoop in on that electro queen just to get let down at the door? There are tons of free and cheap parties going on. Check this guide for them and make sure to cop tickets to must-do events in advance. Prices will go up and parties will sell out. And we all know you're not going to be in any state to make an itinerary once the party has gotten going.

Chew wisely. We're going to throw this out there so you don't look like a complete asshole throughout the week, especially at Ultra. It's 2010, and the day of the pacifier has come and gone. If we see you out and about sucking on a rubber nipple, we're going to rip it right out of your grinding mouth. You're not 16 and it's not 1998. If you're rolling so hard you're going to need a mouth guard, at least be classy and settle for a Blow Pop. Oh, and though we think sitting in the middle of a field and making out with some random person you just met might be better than sucking on a plastic teat, beware that you still look ridiculous to all passersby.

Replenish. There's nothing fun about a four-day bender when you're out of gas. Try to take care of your body. We fully understand you're ready to use and abuse whatever you can get your hands on, but remember to eat, drink, and sleep. If you can't get a meal in, grab a protein bar. Drink water. Catch a nap, even if it's alongside the Atlantic Ocean for a few hours.

Even better, take precautionary measures at least a week beforehand; vitamin C is your friend. And we're not playing pharmacist either, but some Ambien or Xanax might also be handy. In the end, though, all we ask is that you rage properly. It's really just one big dance party, and all that matters is having a fresh pair of socks.

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Tracy A. Block