My first ULTRA…I’m hooked!
Ultra completely lives up to the name. This was my first time hitting up an EDM fest as large scale as this…with over 300,000 people from nearly 100 countries all descending on Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami to hear some of the biggest names in dance music blast their beats on 7 outdoor stages — complete with complicated light shows, graphics, lazers, smoke, and pyrotechnics.
I think I’ve been converted for life.
I 1000% have to come back next year, possibly even earlier for more Winter Music Conference festivities. I hear the parties are bananas and it’s much better for hearing new acts and premiering music. That said…let’s get into what went down:
First and foremost, it was surprisingly and disappointingly CHILLY in Miami! I realize it’s Winter, but coming directly from Winterfell NY, I didn’t have time for all that. I came to Miami not only to rave my face off, but also because I didn’t feel like wearing 8 layers of clothes for a few days. Instead I ended up having to rock my lime green faux leather jacket, which I brought solely in case of emergency, for the entire weekend. Whatever, I lived.
Either way, I was uber excited for Friday night. I couldn’t wait to see Chromeo make their ULTRA debut on the live stage and catch Avicii and Tiesto on the main stage.
But then, as is prone to happen in Miami…the skies opened up and the HARDEST, FULLEST, MOST UNRELENTING RAIN I’ve ever experienced swallowed up downtown Miami. Arriving after nightfall, I was saddened to find that majority of the stages had already been shut down and Chromeo, with their stage being totally exposed to the elements, had to cancel altogether.
MIAMI, FL – MARCH 27: General views around Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park Amphitheater on March 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
Aaron Davidson/Getty Images
Meanwhile, there was music bumping off in the distance…apparently, there was still hope over on the main stage. But seeing as how there were constant buckets of water pouring on my person while I was covered in no more than a yellow crepe romper already soaked to the point of transparency and Converse sneakers that had long left my feet wet and prune-y, all in MAYBE 53-degree weather marked by heavy winds…I lost my momentum and drive to enter through the gates and hope for the best.
JLS06. Miami (United States), 27/03/2015.- Fans are shown in the rain after a performance was postponed at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida, USA, 27 March 2015. The Ultra Music Festival runs from 27 to 29 March. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JOE SKIPPER .
Dejected, I joined the throngs of soaking wet kandi kids and raver girls on the long, wet tread back to the parking decks and considered Day One a tragic loss.
But the sun rises another day, right?
After such a shiteous false start (and a full morning spent blow-drying and flat ironing my weave back to it’s original glory — shoutout to Indique Hair!), Saturday got off to a very promising, albeit disappointingly chilly start. I started off by the Ultra Radio stage, crossing my fingers to see Crizzly…but something seemed off with the schedule, because he didn’t hit the stage at the allotted time. Not sure if he made it earlier or later (or at all), but definitely enjoyed Bixel Boys instead.
After that, it was time for me to head over for Steve Aoki. I actually got a chance to catch up with V Squared Labs, the graphics team that created the digital visuals for Steve Aoki and
I chatted with Creative Director Vello Virkhaus about the process for making the visuals that drive the party. more on that HERE.
As nightfall approached (and that courtesy vodka open bar for media members began to kick in — shout out to the bartenders), the rest of the evening consisted of catching Big Gigantic on the Live Stage:
Axwell ^ Ingrosso on the Main Stage:
And of course, making new acquaintances:
Met these awesome guys from Ministry of Sound in the UK and had a BLAST with them all night!
Rolling totally solo the next day (My UK guys had to catch a flight and my fest friend had to work!) I explored the festival grounds alone.
I stumbled across this awesome set from Jauz at the Ultra Worldwide stage:
Then, of course, THIS happened:
And you know I had to grab a front-row seat. Or Side front. Whatever:
All in all, one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had. Even having to spend half the time “alone” (but seriously, who is ever really alone at a festival?), even after missing an entire day of the show…probably the most enjoyable festival experience I’ve had thus far.