Ultra Miami Recap
From March 28th to March 30th, the city of Miami raged harder then ever before with the return of Ultra Music Festival, one of the world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) showcases. It was 3 straight days of madness, filled with the brightest lights and heaviest bass that you’ve ever encountered. 2014 marked the 16th edition of the festival, with 3 sold out days, each drawing a crowd of 55,000 people from all across the globe. If you were lucky enough to fly down for the festival, I am jealous beyond belief. But if you were here partying underground-HPW style, then you can have the best of both worlds (almost) with our full-on UMF 2014 Recap. Let’s get started! UMF kicked off on Friday, March 28th, with almost 60 DJ performers – yes, this was just the first day. Some big-name headliners included Tiësto, Kaskade, and Zedd. Beyond these EDM masters were the recently viral Chainsmokers, the psychedelic MGMT, and one of our favorite lady bosses, M.I.A. With more than 7 stages it was impossible to attend each set, but the incredible list and range of performances certainly left all audiences more then pleased. Some of the day’s highlights included two collaborations: Icona Pop x Tiësto (apparently he texted the duo less then 24 hours prior, inviting them to join his set) and Carnage x Wacka Flocka Flame. The first pair – or trio, rather – performed an EDM-infused version of Icona Pop’s “Let’s Go.” As for the latter, Carnage’s intense, almost trap-like, beats were complimented perfectly by Wacka Flocka’s wild rapping and jumping. For you dubstep fans out there, Texan DJ Crizzly (self-proclaimed producer of “crunkstep”) dropped a very twerktastic remix of Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake.” Another proponent of twerking, Diplo was another headliner for Friday’s show. He too brought out Wacka Flocka, along with Mad Decent rapper Riff Raff. All in all, Ultra Miami began with a bang, only heightening the expectations for the next two days. Check out some of the live sets below! (Disclaimer: CVBU takes no responsibility for procrastination, blown-out speakers, or dampening of vision/hearing due to these videos)
Saturday took an unexpected turn, with an awful and unnecessary injury for Security Guard Erica Mack. She was trampled by a group of festival goers who stampeded over insufficient barriers – this was an unfortunate reminder of the fine line that exists between having a good time and getting way, way out of hand. Nonetheless, the show goes on. One of the highlights of the day was when Deadmau5 dropped McMaNGOS’ hilarious “Funnymals.” While some accused the DJ to be “trolling” main-stager Martin Garrix, we take this “Animals” x “Old Macdonald Had a Farm” remix lightly, as it is very in line with Deadmau5’s prankster reputation. Another notable track of the day was Krewella’s heart-wrenching remix of John Legend’s “All of Me.” The two sisters that make up Krewella are known for incorporating live vocals into their sets, and doing this at Ultra 2014 brought a breath of fresh air to the festival. Another contributing factor of Saturday’s performances was the weather. The festival temporarily closed due to torrential rain – we can only imagine how many electrocuted ravers there would’ve been if those main-stage lights mixed with water. But when the show continued, Dutch DJ duo W&W made a point to compliment the undeniable persistence & unity of ravers from all over the world. They took a moment in the middle of their set to point out the vast number flags in the crowd from countries from every corner of the globe. Despite the rain and humidity, fans stayed until the bitter end of Armin Van Buuren’s set to cry and sing along to his chill-inducing hit, “This is What it Feels Like” – needless to say, the rain poured, and so did the tears.
Armin Van Buuren
If the festival wasn’t already crazy, amazing, and wild enough, Sunday upped the adrenaline even more. Singer-songwriter Matthew Koma had already appeared earlier in the weekend during Tiësto and Zedd’s respective sets, but he returned a third time on Sunday to join main-stage DJ Afrojack. His unreal tenor vocals cut through beautifully when they performed their song “Illuminate”,” uplifting the crowd to new levels. Diplo also returned on Sunday, but this time with Skrillex, for a sick debut performance by their newly formed duo “Jack U.” Both of these DJs have very distinct and unique sounds, so together, their set spanned dubstep, trap, moombahton, and hip-hop. Taking turns manning the DJ table, they kicked off their set with a new track entitled “Dirty Vibe,” which also features K-pop stars G-Dragon and CL. Other tracks in their set included Diplo’s “Express Yourself,” Skrillex’s “Bangarang,” and Major Lazer’s “Get Free.” Finally to finish the night, #1 DJ in the world Hardwell performed the final set – and it was epic. Everyone gathered at the main stage (plus the almost 250,000 live-streamers on YouTube) to experience Hardwell. The German DJ kicked off his set with blindingly bright, flashing lights and hypnotizing beat that could almost be mistaken as a violin playing short, staccato notes. He then dropped a remix of Sebastian Ingrosso’s “Reload,” calling thousands of fans to belt-out the iconic lyrics, “Reload, this is free love, that’s what we are made of.” People couldn’t help but sing along when he dropped Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and Bastille’s “Pompeii,” too. Hardwell stayed true to his electro-house style with very jump-able remixes and a bumping bass line throughout the entire set.
Jack U (Skrillex + Diplo)
For UMF 2014, ravers came from Japan, Britain, Brazil, and more to celebrate the incredible movement and community that is EDM. We must always remember, however, the risk included in attending one of these festivals. As security guard Erica Mack can attest to, the raver lifestyle of “PLUR” (peace, love, unity, respect) isn’t always the case. Regardless, Ultra Music Festival in Miami is a testament to the dedication, passion, and unity of EDM-lovers everywhere. Ultra 2014: we came, we raved, we loved.
Images courtesy of Facebook.