The Ice Palace Studios in downtown Miami hosted some of the biggest names in dance music this past Miami Music Week. We were excited to see the Ibiza born concepts come to the US, many for the first time. They brought with them seemingly infinite lineups of A-list performers and were hosted by industry superstars including Richite Hawtin, Jamie Jones, Bingo Players, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz. As advised in our Miami Music Week Roundup, we decided Paradise, Deadmau5 b2b Pryda, and the Get Lost events were parties we could not miss. Sadly, after booking over 36 hours worth of music between the 3 events, we got to hear less than 90 minutes, and missed 2 of the parties entirely.
The Ice Palace Studios are right around the corner from the world renowned Club Space, in an interesting district of downtown Miami. It feels very industrial and if you happened to be one of the many New Yorkers in town for the week, you might have felt as if you had landed in a tropical Brooklyn on your way to a warehouse party. The buildings are covered with impressive street art, and the characters wandering the streets would make you feel uncomfortable if you were alone, but the loud music seeping through the warehouse walls still draws you down the alleys in search of what you know will be a massive gathering.
The Ice Palace hosted 3 separate parties on Thursday, bringing more partygoers than Miami PD were willing to sanction. To start the confusion, the original address for the “Pop Up Arena” was not the actual location of the event, and to our knowledge, it was never announced that the event was moved inside the Ice Palace. This meant that Remembrance, Deadmau5 vs Pryda, and Paradise were all on the same block, and their entrances were all less than 100 yards from one another. This sounded convenient at first, especially for the ambitious attendees that hoped to visit more than one of the events that night. Unfortunately for us, a complete lack of organization, direction, and signage to direct the thousands of people that had arrived to the area by 11pm kept the events from running as planned.
There were 3 ‘lines,’ but they were left unmarked, leaving no indication of which event they led to. The employees had no idea either. Every few minutes, someone would walk out and yell “Pop Tent this way! Pop Tent wrong gate! Keep going!” A third of the people that had been waiting in line would leave to go to the next line, and vice versa. At one point, everyone going to Pryda vs Deadmau5 had been waiting in line for the Remembrance for over a half hour, and there wasn’t a single person in line at the correct gate. Instead of placing a simple sign above each gate, they allowed hundreds of paying customers to wait in confusion through lines leading to the wrong show, while the event they had paid for went on without them.
I wish I could say the troubles ended there and that we went inside, enjoyed a great show and left having forgotten all about our troublesome arrival. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Deadmau5 vs Pryda was a disaster in its own right. You probably wont hear any other blogs explaining the troubles, because the truth is, most attendees showed up, lost their mind, and went home to get ready for Ultra in the morning without a care in the world. But the event was a sad display of world-class talent at no fault to either DJ.
First, there were no posted set times. Anywhere.
Second, it was a cash only bar with no cash-only signage. I can’t imagine the number of people that waited in line as the incompetent bartenders slowly worked through customers, only to get to the front and be told they had to visit the ATM line, which didn’t move any faster. The bartenders themselves were clueless, and the drink prices rivaled those of LIV and Mansion. After hearing my bartender exclaim, “$17 and $18…… that’s $37”(describing a bud light 12oz can and a shot of well rum), I decided that I wasn’t going to buy any more drinks from the unorganized servers. So then what? Well, it was going to be a long night, so bottled water sounded like a good idea. …Not so much. Water was $6 for a no name 12oz bottle, and $8 for a 10oz bottle of “high end” water from a brand which I have never heard of. The main bar ran out of the $6, larger bottles by 1am. The show went on well into the morning.
Finally, the sound was terrible. Deadmau5 complained on twitter, and given his outspoken nature, I would say he was unusually conservative with his grievances. The mids were missing, the bass was muddy, and the highs sounded like they were coming from torn tweeters. We’ve heard reports of sub par sound at Ice Palace events in past years, but I never would have expected this, especially with 2 veteran producers throwing the party. We were told that the other rooms were much better, particularly at Paradise and ENTER., but we never made it to Paradise to find out for ourselves.
Lee Foss and Anabel Englund the most anticipated set of my week, and nothing was going to keep us from missing it. Well, except for dozens of Miami Police officers, the Fire Marshall, a crowd of 500+ people, and a 12 foot steel gate.
We left Deadmau5 vs Pryda at 1:45am to give us plenty of time to make it to the 2:30am highlight of our week. We exited to find hundreds, if not over a thousand people crowded around the entrance to Paradise. The line was immobile. After 45 minutes passed and not a single person was allowed entry, we started to realize why this tropical warehouse was called the “Ice” Palace. We were frozen in a crowd of patrons that had cumulatively paid thousands to see our favorite artists, and none of us were going to get to do so.
The crowd grew restless. Police filled the street. People started shouting the number of hours they had been waiting at the doorman. Two hours seemed to be the average for the unlucky few at the front near the gate. We left as police started shutting down the road, and demanding that the private parking lots be emptied by 5:00am, for shows that were expected go on until breakfast time.
After reaching out to them via Facebook, Paradise responded to us with an unofficial apology:
“We apologize for the issues in Miami…the fire marshal closed the door several times throughout the night citing capacity issues which wasn’t the case. This venue has issues like this every year. Again we are terribly sorry for the headache. Please request a refund of your unused ticket through either RA or Wantickets.”
While we appreciate the kind words, we can’t help but wonder: if the venue has a reputation for shutting down events, why return? We also heard reports that the inside was absolutely packed, and the event did add a 5th, 6th and 7th release to the original 4 on Resident Advisor.
After Get Lost and the Diynamic label party released their respective set times, with most of the prime talent before noon and overlapping, we decided to forfeit the idea of returning with the possibility of standing outside in the industrial district of Miami all afternoon and stayed at Space for 6 more hours of stellar music from Adriatique, Solomun and HOSH.
Resident Advisor will refund the tickets, less 50% of the service fee, for those who were not admitted to Paradise. We were denied a refund for Get Lost, which fortunately for fans of the celebrated annual event, did go off without incident. If you missed out on Paradise, please don’t hesitate to claim your refund by emailing RA at email@example.com.