Though the Winter Music Conference, now in its 15th year, had 6,500 registered participants, local organizers estimate that upward of 30,000 revelers came to town — a number some say has grown too large for this small strip of oceanfront land. The huge attendance would seem to run counter to recent reports that South Beach is dropping in stature as the spot where international trends are set in fashion and music.
But truth be told, several clubs have seen a general downturn; the modeling business reports fewer fashion shoots, and even Beach club queen (and Madonna pal) Ingrid Casares has scaled back, selling her nightspots so she can spend more time with her new son.
Yet while she says she personally no longer parties till dawn, she feels South Beach club culture is as vital as ever. "They can report all they want," Casares said. "The Beach is here to stay."