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Nestled between the light sands of South Beach and the hustle and bustle of Collins Avenue is the vibrant W Hotel South Beach. The seemingly hidden gem, located steps from the Atlantic Ocean, is one of several W hotels where tourists and locals gather to enjoy live music.
“Music is such a big part of our DNA,” said Carly Van Sickle, senior director, global brand marketing at W Hotels billboard during a visit to South Beach last week. “We have always supported up and coming musicians and artists. Most recently he worked with Leah ‘LP Giobbi’ Chisholm [global director of music at W Hotel]our team really focused on the electronic and dance scene, but also made sure of that [the experiences are] still diverse and connected to the local culture.”
With electronic and dance music on the rise and megastars like Beyoncé and Drake exploring the space, the hotel is delving even deeper into the genre through W Presents, an “innovative live electronic showcase” featuring artists hand-picked by Chisholm, including debut acts from her organization, FEMME House, which creates “equal opportunities” for women and transgender individuals in the music industry.
The live music series, announced Wednesday (March 28), will take place in the W’s lounge/lobby area, called Everyday. Rapper and producer Channel Tres will kick off the series with a performance at the new W Hotel Toronto on April 6.
The live music series comes amid a celebration of Miami Music Week at the W South Beach. The hotel hosted a series of events attended by influencers and tastemakers in the EDM scene, including Diplo and Frances Mercier.
Fans from all over the world flocked to Miami for the 10th anniversary of Miami Music Week. The annual celebration, which ran from March 21 to 26, coincided with this year’s Ultra Music Festival.
W South Beach invited billboard to attend Miami Music Week events and installations, the first of which was an invitation-only dinner at Irma’s W South Beach on March 22. The hotel has teamed up with Senza Fine to present a fine dining experience co-hosted by Chisholm and Senza Fine co-founder Carlita and sponsored by Volcan De Mi Tierra Tequila.
Attendees included EDM titans and VIPs such as Diplo, Pete Tong, Damien Lazarus, Bedouin, Thomas & Julien de Bie (aka “Parallells”), Ape Drums of Major Lazer, Anfisa Letyago, Mercier, Joplyn, Arielle Free, Head of Spotify electronic dance development Ronnie Ho, WME head of electronic music Stephanie LaFerra and Nü Androids founder Nayef Issa.
The menu, courtesy of DJ Tennis, included small bites served on tennis rackets and seafood dishes such as blue crab with polenta, wild-caught swordfish, ragu paccheri pasta and fish cigars.
Day 2 began with a yoga session on the beach led by Ahana Yoga, followed by a breakfast mixer with sounds provided by a guest DJ. New York wellness company WTHN provided suction cups and personalized ear seeds while guests enjoyed fresh fruit, breakfast bites and sips of cocoa.
“We want to make sure that W shows up during cultural music moments, but shows up in a way that’s not always a party,” explained Van Sickle. “That’s why we held the dinner and wellness event. We know it’s extremely important to look after artists and people in the industry as a whole and look after mental health and wellness.”
For Night 2, W partnered with Mercier’s Deep Root Records for “Deep Root Tribe,” an Afro-house music event at W South Beach’s WET Deck, sponsored by El Cristiano 1761 Tequila. The event, which took place on March 23 and was open to the public, featured intimate sets from EDM stars including Major League DJz, &Friends, Bontan, HoneyLuv, Nico De Andrea, Ninetoes, samblacky, D’WITCHES, Gianni Petrarca, Sam Haze and a special performance by Mercier and Diplo.
“Our wet decks and pools are a really good platform for music as well,” noted Van Sickle. “In Barcelona, for example, they do what they call their summer Wet Deck series. Every summer [there’s] different lineup, again free to the public. We want the locals to come. We want people who travel to know that if they are looking for musical experiences, they can go to the W Hotel. We show up in many different ways. We’re just making sure we’re always activating around that passion point of the music.”
W South Beach’s Miami Music Week event series kicked off with a panel presented by FEMME House and a cocktail industry mixer in W South Beach’s Living Room. The panel was hosted by FEMME House co-founders Chisholm and HERMIXALOT and discussed creating opportunities for marginalized communities, providing safe spaces for diversity and building “authentic community” in music.
In addition to special events, exquisite rooms and sweeping views, the W Hotel further caters to music fans and creators by offering private recording studios and writer’s rooms. Sound Suites are available at several locations including W Hollywood, W Seattle and W Bali.
“At the end of the day, our goal is obviously for people to stay with us, but we want to make sure that our experiences are open to others as well,” Van Sickle said. “We do not want [these experiences] to be exceptional. We are inclusive. We want everyone to come, be themselves, have fun and experience the music.
“So both sides of the artistic community,” she continued. “It’s a creative space for the community, sort of a mix of both: fans, but also for artists.”
Tapping into the local community is a big part of creating live music experiences at W Hotels around the world. “Local culture is a really big thing for us that we want to tap into,” Van Sickle added.
“I think post-Covid we want to make sure we’re bringing those experiences back in a really accessible way, but also in a fun, innovative, culturally relevant way.”