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When we started FMF in 2002, the city of Orlando was very supportive of the idea because they saw the success of festivals like South by Southwest (an annual event in Austin, Texas)," says Perry. "The town was ripe for something like that and all the bars and clubs loved the idea of doing music." (all images courtesy Florida Music Festival)

"The conference side of FMF is a great real world educational opportunity for students and musicians," Wheeler says. "It's an aspect of the festival that we hope grows and students embrace, because that’s really who it is for."

"It’s a digital world now and musicians don’t have to go out and play to get exposure," says Perry about the evolution of digital music. "With one posting, the whole world can know about your band."

"Because so much has changed in the music industry, having a conference is very healthy," says Wheeler. "A lot of industry people are telling us that the conference is important for them because they can actually talk to an artist face-to-face."

"The festival's goal hasn't changed since it started: Putting bands together with fans and career connections," Perry explains. "That’s really what we’ve been selling all along — a really good party."