Since its inception back in December 2012, ParadiseWorld’s goal was always to become a “Destination Music Festival”, as stated in their slogan. This year ParadiseWorld achieved just that.
ParadiseWorld is tapping into the unexploited young North American market by inviting a diverse array of North American superstar DJs, celebrities, VIP promoters and key personalities to the island. Specifically making a connection between Curaçao and the booming Electronic Music scene in Miami.
On its third annual consecutive edition ParadiseWorld added a new component to their music festival, a full music industry conference spreading over 5 days (December 17th through 21st), which featured pool parties, club nights, after-hours and most importantly, a partnership with Miami’s Winter Music Conference, the world’s longest standing music conference of its kind celebrating 30 years this upcoming March 2015.
When the idea of introducing an industry networking conference to Curaçao came about, ParadiseWorld wanted to partner up with simply the best. After some back and forth, Bill Kelly, Founder and Director of Miami’s WMC liked the concept of ParadiseWorld so much, that he decided to fly down himself and start off the first Electronic Music conference ever in Curaçao with a “Q & A” session featuring himself, where he answered important questions by local upcoming DJs, radio personalities and music enthusiasts, and shared his knowledge of over 30 years of music industry experience. He said: “It takes time to build something like this, I almost gave up in my 6th year of doing the conference”. Today WMC attracts music enthusiasts from over 70 countries to Miami Beach for a concentrated schedule of more than 400 events, parties, seminars and workshops, resulting on an economic impact of an additional $200,000,000 for the city of Miami.
The ParadiseWorld Music Conference kicked off on Wednesday, December 17th with a press conference / welcome party at the beautiful lobby of the Renaissance Curaçao Resort, which served as the official host hotel for ParadiseWorld and all its guests from out of town and was completely sold out for ParadiseWorld. The conference was introduced by the charismatic Damian Pinto, who is the host and voice of Ultra Music Festival, one of the biggest, if not the biggest Electronic Music festival in the world, currently being held in over 10 countries. The public and members of the press were greeted by a special welcome drink provided by The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur called “Blue Paradise”, and danced to the beats of DJ Alex Sargo, Curaçao’s number one DJ.
Some of the ParadiseWorld Conference highlights included a live performance by Amsterdam’s “RBBP” a new project by Clifford Goilo, a Curaçao born music producer. They performed at a ParadiseWorld branded “Club Night” on Thursday, December 18th at Bermuda Caribbean Discotheque. People were literally doing head-stands and shaking on the floor. A scene that could only be fully appreciated by those who were present.
Another one of the highlights was a presentation by Curaçao’s own, Kuenta I Tambú (KIT) on Friday, December 19th, an act that is crossing borders with their fusion of traditional Tambú music and electronic beats. Attendees got an insider’s look into the making of their new music video titled “Santa Electra”, which features vocals by Curaçao’s Tambú queen, Elia Isenia. WMC founder Bill Kelly asked the band members: “Do you have any distribution in the United States? I would love to have some of this Caribbean influenced acts at one of my events in Miami”. This opened up a discussion about doing a ParadiseWorld branded event in Miami during Winter Music Conference in March, featuring Curaçao talent who are pushing the envelope. “This is exactly what we set out to do when we decided to add the industry conference element to ParadiseWorld” said Esteban Mendez, Co-Founder and Executive Producer of ParadiseWorld. “Today we are bringing Miami to Curaçao, tomorrow we’ll be bringing Curaçao to Miami”, he added.
This year’s festival headliners were none other than Diplo & Skrillex. Two of the most popular and innovative DJs and Producers pioneering in the Electronic Music scene worldwide today.
Diplo recently produced tracks for Madonna’s upcoming album, three of which she just released and are currently in the top 10 iTunes selling tracks. He was also recently featured on the cover of Billboard magazine, an honor that not a lot of artists in this genre get to enjoy. As Madonna gets older she is always looking to work with the best and most current producers in order to freshen up and help re-invent her sound. Diplo is her new go-to guy.
Skrillex is a 6-time Grammy award winner, the face of Electronic Dance Music in North America and pretty much the creator of his own genre within Electronic Music (Dubstep). You just can’t say that about many people in the industry today.
Diplo & Skrillex took the stage at ParadiseWorld’s main event on Saturday, December 20th at the Kleine Werf. The impressive main stage was designed by Curaçao born Richard Milsten, ParadiseWorld’s Co-Founder and Production Director, who also happens to be the main stage designer for Ultra Music Festival and all its events worldwide. Richard is a perfect example of a “Yu di Kórsou” doing great things abroad.
Diplo & Skrillex delivered a performance that was simply historic, a huge step forward in the Electronic Music scene in Curaçao. Ranging from Reggae to Dubstep and everything in between, you could pick out bits and pieces of tracks like House of Pain’s “Jump Around”, Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and even The Door’s “Light My Fire”. To top it all off the whole “Major Lazer” crew (Diplo’s famous Dancehall project), got on stage to deliver beautiful renditions of their best tracks, including the popular “Watch Out For This” (Bumayé). All of this while Diplo held our “Dushi Kòrsou’s” national flag up high with pride, a moment that will leave a lasting impression on the island for years to come. Skrillex looked more like a ninja than a DJ, jumping off the DJ booth like a ball of energy, throwing flying kicks from start to end. To wrap it all up he delighted us with Toto’s “Africa”, his favorite song ever, as he refers to it, completing what is by far the best DJ set the island has ever witnessed.
Skrillex decided to walk to the venue before the show instead of taking the limo intended for him, taking a stroll from Otrobanda to Punda, crossing the floating “Queen Emma” bridge and taking pictures with every young fan that approached him on his way. Never once he refused, giving each kid the time a day, a humble gesture on his behalf. After the show he also decided to walk back through the streets, ending up at the small club “The Alley” in Punda, where he surprisingly got on the decks for a private DJ set of over two hours to the delight of the lucky ones present, wrapping up at about 7:30 AM, something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world, but it did happen right here in Curaçao. The night was simply one for the books.
The closing event on Sunday, December 21st was hosted by one of South Beach’s most seasoned promoters and self-proclaimed “Director of Vibes”, Yes Julz, who brought her “Best Day Ever” pool party concept to the infinity pool of the Renaissance Curaçao Resort. Julz is one of the most influential personalities in the VIP scene in Miami, hosting the likes of Lebron James, Beyonce and P. Diddy at her weekly events held at the Delano Hotel, Story and LIV nightclubs in South Beach. Julz has over 100,000 followers on Instagram where she shared everything she did while on the island from swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphin Academy to hiking the Mt Christoffel at the Christoffel National Park. “I will definitely be back” she said, something that will resonate throughout the Miami scene.
On the closing day of the conference Esteban Mendez held an open debate with other local industry leaders about the challenges of producing these types of events in our small island. Some of the issues discussed included the shortage of airlift and high hotel occupancies. “One of our goals is to become the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival of the younger generation. JetBlue just added a direct flight from New York, that’s one step forward, I’m sure others will follow. It takes time, Curaçao has great potential. Build it and they will come”. He concluded.