1. Winter Music Conference
This dance and electronic music festival and trade show stages five days of DJ performances, music and tech seminars, and sponsored parties in Miami Beach, attracting more than 70,000 people last year. The 25th anniversary conference is scheduled for March 23 to 27.
2. International Ballet Festival of Miami
Each September, dancers, critics, and fans gather for 17 days of performances by principals from the world’s top ballet companies. About 9,000 people attended in 2009—2,000 fewer than in previous years, a change organizers attributed to the economy. The 2010 festival takes place August 27 to September 12.
3. Summer Shorts Festival
Produced by City Theatre, this drama fest drew nearly 6,000 people to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the Broward Center for 50 performances in four weeks. The 2010 shows are scheduled for June 3 to 27 at the Arsht Center.
James Taylor headlined his five-day waterfront music and art festival in West Palm Beach in 2009. Produced by SunFest of Palm Beach County Inc., the event attracted 275,000. The 29th annual festival is scheduled for April 28 to May 2.
5. Ultra Music Fest
Ultra draws more than 40,000 revelers to Bicentennial Park every March to witness more than 200 musicians and DJs perform on 10 stages. The 2009 event was named Best Festival by Village Voice Media’s New Times for the fifth consecutive year and Best Music Event by the International Dance Music Awards for the fourth time. This year’s festival will be held March 26 and 27.
6. Miami Music Festival
In its inaugural year, this three-day music festival staged more than 600 performances in 27 venues downtown and in Brickell. The event attracted nearly 19,000 people—4,000 more than anticipated. Organizer Irwin Kornfeld, C.E.O. of music magazine In Tune Monthly, and partner Will Edwards plan to bring back the festival in fall 2010.
7. Miami Salsa Congress
Since its inception in 2002, this Latin dance festival has grown from 600 people to more than 5,000 salsa dance enthusiasts, an increase of more than 800 from the 2008 event. Headquartered at the Miami Beach Resort, the five-day event consists of dance performances, workshops, and parties. This year’s festival will take place August 4 to 8.
8. South Florida Theatre Festival
With performances staged throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, this event moved from spring to October in 2009 and was condensed from three months to two weeks surrounding the Theatre Communications Group’s Free Night of Theater. Performances will resume in mid-October.
9. Heineken Transatlantic Festival
This nearly monthlong music festival showcases emerging artists at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami every April. Coordinated by nonprofit group the Rhythm Foundation, the 2009 event attracted nearly 5,000 attendees—1,000 more than in 2008. Sponsorships increased 50 percent, with eight organizations contributing.
10. Future Classic Festival
Music representation and promotional company Contagious Musiq’s inaugural festival attracted about 4,000 people to Soho Studios Miami on September 12. The event fused music, video games, dance, art, fashion, and skateboarding into a single gathering. Organizers had not announced a 2010 date at press time.
11. Coral Gables Bluesfest
Held in February on the street outside Fritz and Franz Bierhaus in Coral Gables, this festival combines blues with German, Creole, American, and other international foods. The three-day event attracts about 2,000 people. The 12th go-round will take place April 26 to 28.
12. Florida Dance Festival Winterfest
This weeklong dance fest combines classes, workshops, lectures, and performances. The most recent performances at the Colony Theatre and the New World Dance Theatre drew nearly 900 people. The next incarnation begins December 27.