URGE Miami Festival Thanksgiving Weekend welcomes thousands of gay men from across the USA to the sun-drenched shores of South Beach. Produced by Luis Morera, Billy Kemp and Hilton Wolman, the event will be a massive three-night, four-day spectacular featuring a list of the world’s most famous circuit DJs and performers including Isaac Escalante, Renato Cecin, Aron, Alex Lo, Joe Gauthreaux, Phil Romano, Morabito, Suri, and more to be announced.
“Last year’s party was cancelled because of the pandemic so we are thrilled to bring the world’s best gay Thanksgiving event back to Miami,” says Hilton Wolman. Due to COVID restrictions in Europe that continue to prevent some talent and guests from attending USA events, the producers decided to not to bring back the European-based Circuit Festival Miami event that typically took place in South Beach during Thanksgiving Weekend. Instead, they are presenting Urge Miami Festival, with a focus on domestic travelers. “We are billing this year’s event as the ultimate holiday reunion for the American gay party community, emphasizing strength and unity,” continues Wolman.
Many of the same exceptional venues will be utilized, including the signature event of the weekend: the long-established Sunday Beach Party. The URGE Miami Festival Beach Party will take place on an expanded area that will give more space on the dancefloor. It will also feature a stage that rises 25 feet into the air and a raised VIP area with great views of the stage, where guests can enjoy a full open bar.
This year’s host hotel is the Kimpton Anglers, conveniently located on Washington Ave, just off 5th. They are currently offering specially negotiated rates starting at just $219/night that can be booked directly from the URGE Miami Festival website. The hotel is also offering to halve the normal resort fee for URGE Miami Festival guests.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Phil Romano, this week’s cover model, who will be spinning at the Beach Party.
When did you realize you wanted to be a DJ?
I remember when I was in High school, we would have home parties and I was always in charge of the music. In the early 90’s we had cassettes and we used to record our favorite tracks from the radio and then play them at our little gatherings. It was so cool and I felt so amazing. That was the moment I fell in love with this art.
Where are you originally from and where do you live now?
I’m Italian/Australian, my mum is Australian and my dad Italian. I lived between the two continents and two years in the States. Opening my mind.
What was your first residency, and how did that feel?
I remember practicing like crazy at home with my equipment. Then in Milan there was, at the time, one of the biggest and best clubs in Europe, I really wanted to spin there, and I made everything to make my dream come true. Finally, I managed to get in for an opening session at my favorite club and omg it was the white party. I remember I was so scared the first three tracks, then it all felt so natural. That happened in 2003.
What separates you from other DJs?
Experience sometimes. I am always looking for the best/next trend, and the will to help new talents make their debut. I’m not scared to get new people into this job. Their door opens sometimes thanks to my help. But then its their job to keep it open for the years to come. And we have all seen many DJ’s come and go.
What are some memorable moments from the DJ booth?
Definitely seeing people singing, all together, an anthem you wrote and produced!
What are some of your favorite cities you have traveled to for DJing?
Every city I work in is special in a different way to me because it brings me experience and growth. The pay back to me is seeing that we are all united at least under the name of music, no matter the color, the race and/or belief.
Other than DJing, what do you like to do for fun?
I love movies and outdoors and obviously as every other Italian, food.
Describe yourself in three words?
Modest, positive and fun!
What does the future hold for you?
Stability, something I wish everyone after these hard times we have all been through.
How excited are you to be spinning the infamous beach Party during the Urge Miami Festival?
I’m a veteran for this party, but it never gets any easier, as the pressure is big and I will face it as always: Full of energy and loud!
A portion of the proceeds from URGE Miami Festival will benefit Miami Beach Pride, a not-for-profit organization that works to unite members of the LGBTQ community by celebrating the unique spirit and culture of its people.
URGE Miami Festival tickets are available at urgemiamifestival.com.