It was the Summer Festival Guide's first time at Miami's Ultra Music Festival and after last years amazing show and live video streams we were quite exicted to be there. Some of the biggest acts in the world play together at elbow's distance away at multiple different beautifully crafted stages. Miami Ultra has a range of different environments to excite and encourage your music pallet. The Iconic Main Stage has to be the most impressive but with stages like the live Amphitheatre and smaller stages like the UMF radio stage surrounded in Palm trees and lit with the glow of the high rise apartments surrounding BayFront Park there is something for everyone.
It was incredible to see how buzzed the locals and people attending the festival were yesterday. Just like being part of the live video stream but watching it from the ground rather than helicopter or flying in by speedboat down the coast. The main stage filled very quickly starting with The Chainsmokers known for their sweeping record “SELFIE” seen all over the internet and through apps like VINE and Instagram.
ShowTek and LaidBack Luke played early in the afternoon after doors opened at 3PM and the main arena quickly filled. Some of the most daring outfits and Slinky style EDM costumes covered in friend share beads to exchange to people they come into contact with were proudly on display and is something that is ingrained in Electronic Dance Music (EDM) now. Appearances from Sean Paul and Major Lazer was a surprise, performing songs from 2002 “Gimme the light”
Miami Ultra festival looks best during the dusk hours of the evening as light drops and the vibrancy of the stages is know to all Miami. The sun sets through the skyline and projects an orange glow over the main crowd arena area, Projectors light up the Intercontinental Miami Hotel overlooking the Bay Front. Big names one after the other hit the stages all round, causing the crowds to go insane and hustle to see their favourite artists. The energy is infectious and the fire and CO2 cannons create an incredible universe to saturate your senses, bouncing hands, one man in a wheel chair lifted to the crowds, the energy is that of the festival, electric!
Being Miami, you can only expect great weather and Friday & Sunday this year both had a massive amount of sun, and left many feeling a little red in the mornings after, UMF (Ultra Music Festival) are very health conscious and during set changes at the main stage they do remind people to pace themselves and to drink plenty of water.
News which hit everyone on Saturday afternoon projected through the UMF App was that Avicii who was set to play as the headline act on day two (Saturday Night) was in hospital and was to be replaced by the bright eyed trickster DeadMau5. Avicii suffered from health issues after he had been in pain again after initially seeking medical advise days before. Tim Bergling (Avicii) needed to return to hospital because the pain became too much to carry through his set Avicii is now set to have his Gall Bladder removed in a low risk surgical operation.
Replacement Joel Thomas Zimmerman aka DeadMau5's set that Saturday made for more music news, after trolling on Martin Garrix and his number 1 single “Animals” and replacing the drop with “Old McDonald had a Farm”. With the hook on repeat, Deadmau5 came out from behind the desk to cheer on the crowds. Zimmerman was extremely enthusiastic about how much he enjoyed “that” song.. (referencing “Old McDonald” instead of “Animals” by Martin Garrix).
Playing through on Saturday and Sunday on the live stage know as the Amphitheatre, organised by Live Nation acts like Dizzee Rascal playing “Bonkers”, Example “All the wrong places”, Chase and Status and Basement Jaxx played to which compared to the UK and Europe where they would normally be surrounded by thousands of people. This intimate stage seated around 500 this meant you could get up close and personal with your favourite rapper or DJ.
Still to come was the ever popular and quirky Mr David Guetta coming on penultimate Sunday at 9:40PM smashing an entrance with “My Freedom” and introducing the crowd to a new track called (Ten Feet Tall Culture Code Remix which Guetta remixed for Afrojack). You can imagine this brought a serious amount of fire and raised hands! This Mix can be listened to from the Live feed recorded that night here…
HardWell was set to take the lime light for the finale of the 2014 UMF Main stage. Starting slow like an introduction to a thriller movie, the built up gave you shivers and made your hair stand on end. Starting with an unidentified mix to build up and then dropping into the familiar but harder version of “My Freedom” got the crowd energised once more. Not that Miami Ultra fans ever seem to stop bouncing and dancing, his set featured “Dare You (Cash Cash Remix)” slowing into drums and percussion mixes then the boss of base hit everyone with a remixed version of Calvin Harris & Alesso’s “Under Control” To conclude another impressive year in Miami, Hardwell ended with an incredible song “Spaceman” which was one of my highlights. As he came to the front to thank everyone for an incredible year and for sharing it with him, Ultra send the Miami crowd crazy with an impressive set of fireworks, fire and the consistent cheering of a strong global crowd. Well done Ultra Music Festival, we can't wait to get back their next year.
For those in Europe, Ultra Europe hits Croatia this July, get your tickets now!
Photography by James Bridle