In the Booth

Red Bull Thre3style DJ Championship Pits Area DJs Against Each Other

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In an industry where so much of your success or failure is influenced by things like your image, marketing, industry connections, money, location, and other factors, it's nice to enter a competition that is based strictly on your performance. All you have is your 15 minutes, your equipment, creativity, song selection, technical ability, and gift to make an impression. In a world where success is clearly not based on merit alone, theoretically everyone entering the battle has the same chance for success.

Last Year's Winning Routine by ESKEI83

There's a never-ending discussion (read: argument) in the DJ world about which cities produce the best DJs. After traveling to most cities in the U.S. and hearing guys from all over come play here, I can say confidently that South Florida is currently producing the best DJs in the country.

Of the six DJs chosen to compete in the Tampa prelims (February 19 at the Ritz Theatre), three are resident DJs at Vibe Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale. Konflikt, Obscene, and Nikko Calor are all set to battle it out with the winner heading into the finals in Los Angeles. Seems like this end of the state has an unfair advantage.

DJ Konflikt made it to the finals last year. This is his incredibly creative routine.

But why are we producing the best DJs? Like most questions, there's not just one easy answer. Nightlife here is a serious business. Only clubs in Vegas make more money. This causes club owners to put constant pressure on their DJs to create new routines and keep things fresh. The venues in South Florida are open until 4 or 5 a.m. regularly, so DJs here learn how to pace themselves and to keep the crowd interested during marathon sets. As someone who has played both locally and in cities like L.A. and San Diego that shut down at 2 a.m., let me assure you that this makes a huge difference.

South Florida never really sleeps. In most cities, DJs play at one of just a few clubs, sometimes private events. Between the weather and the sheer number of venues here, DJs never stop working. Clubs, lounges, rooftops, pool parties, yacht parties, afterhours, art walks, brunches, festivals, pop-up events, openings, and fashion shows. It never ends.

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Adam Foster