Plan ahead for Thanksgiving Weekend – Circuit Festival will be returning to Miami
If you’re looking for some action over the Thanksgiving Weekend, head to Miami for Circuit Festival and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in four days of partying — including a beach party on South Beach.
I caught up with event producer Hilton Wolman for a behind-the-scenes look at what we can expect from the 2019 edition of Circuit Festival Miami.
Circuit parties have an image of being all about gym-fit, body-conscious guys. Is that the audience who you’re pitching Circuit Miami at?
The eye candy at Circuit Festival comes in all shapes and sizes. We strive to be an inclusive event, welcoming all body types and ethnicities. After all, we’re all gay, proud, and connected by a common love of music and having fun on the dance floor and on the beach.
What sort of attendance levels did you see at last year’s Circuit Festival Miami?
Last year, which was our inaugural event, our actual attendance figures were almost 50 percent higher than what we projected, with many of the events being sold out and people being turned away at the door. This year, we’ve worked to increase our capacity and we’re hoping to see a major increase in attendance. Passes went on sale in July and in just one week we sold more than we did in a whole month last year. At this rate, we could expect to see twice as many people in 2019.
Have you made any changes for the 2019 event?
The biggest changes for 2019 have been to increase the capacity for our signature events – the La Leche Beach Party, and the Saturday and Sunday night parties. In the case of the beach party, the City of Miami Beach are allowing us to relocate to an area east of the dunes, which gives us a bigger footprint. The extra space will be more comfortable for all of our guests, while giving them a better view of the famous Miami Beach seascape.
Saturday and Sunday night will be held in the massive Magic City Studios, located in the heart of Miami. We’re also working with vendors to streamline the purchase of drinks at our larger events, utilising credit card-linked bracelets for payment. This will reduce waiting times and hopefully eliminate lines to buy drinks or drink tickets.
Is Miami a good place to party?
November in Miami is traditionally the start of our dry season and the weather is usually fantastic. Few other cities in the US can offer such spectacular beaches and weather to augment the nighttime activities.
During November, Miami is easy to get to and hotel rooms are extremely well-priced. This year’s host hotel is The Dream on South Beach, part of the prestigious Dream Hotel Group. They’re currently offering specially negotiated rates starting at just $146 per night.
Getting around the city is affordable and easy thanks to Uber and Lyft.
Where do most of the guys come from who attend Circuit Festival Miami?
While more than 50 percent of our attendees are from North America, we’re thrilled at the number of international visitors that came last year. We’re already seeing strong overseas purchases for 2019. People are coming from as far afield as Australia, Russia, South Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Scandinavia.
I also spoke with promoter Luis Morera about some of the logistics of the event.
The beach party is one of the main highlights of Circuit Festival Miami. This year, you’re planning a beach clean-up – how will that work?
As we all know, the beaches are like the jewels of our city so we don’t only want to give back to the community in a financial way but also by adding some community work. We’re working with the city to see which go-green non-profit will be appointed to do the clean-up. Once we come up with a date and time, we’ll send messages to our email list and social media to gather volunteers.
Ideally we want the beach clean-up to feel like a fun event as well. We know that picking up garbage isn’t exactly entertaining, but if you add a bunch of hunky guys and all your friends it becomes light work for a community of caring people. Not to mention that it’s a fantastic feeling – doing good with your Circuit family.
It’s not like you only came to party, you actively participated in keeping the landscape of these events as pristine as when you arrived. We’re expecting a lot of good people with big hearts picking up trash, taking selfies, meeting like-minded strangers, and just having a good time. A little soul food, so to speak, to go with all the partying.
What are some of the challenges in putting together an event like Circuit Festival Miami?
There are a ton of moving parts, and making sure you’ve got them all covered is kind of the challenging part. You have to see what’s happening in the party scene around the world to stay with it or predict how to top it. You have to find the DJs that are really having a ‘moment’ in their careers right now, and that also line up with the sound you want to put out.
There is a huge partnership that needs to be built and really maintained all year-round with the city as well. You need to have open and clear communication with your city leaders and planning teams. Everything needs to be communicated – everything!
Then there is the challenge of how you leave a positive lasting mark with your fans to keep them actively engaged until next year.
More broadly, there’s a running theme for the festival – a message that you need to have in your head as you put together these events. Of course, these are celebrations but what are we celebrating? What is the focus? Is it spreading the word about STI testing? Is it a platform for spreading information about political candidates helping out our community? Is it climate change? Believe it or not, all of this is at the root of every event. There is a cause for each party – a reason to bring us all together, aside from sweaty muscle boys and music.
What do you hope that people feel when attending Circuit Festival Miami?
Above all, we want our attendees to feel like this is the festival to look forward to! Whether that’s because they feel good about how it helps out with the beach clean-up, or how friendly every one is, or even that they just love the overall vibe of the events – that is enough.
We want every single person to feel that amazing – ‘Wow, that was incredible!’ feeling on their flights home. That’s what creates real ties at a festival like this. The experience has to be so big that it touches everyone in their own way. It’s an ambitious endeavour but we’re already seeing repeat customers, so we must be doing something right.