Miami’s Ultra Music Festival – the inthemix round-up

All’s quiet now in Miami after a near-month-long marathon of parties, extortionist VIP areas and sunburned skin. The final weekend of March saw Ultra Music Festival and its fleet of ‘exclusive’ acts cram over 150,000 bodies into Bicentennial Park over the course of three days. Meanwhile, the Swedish House Mafia’s breakaway show on Miami’s South Beach, Masquerade Motel, also sold out its vast 15,000-capacity tent – but we’ll get to that later…

With one of the most bombastic dance music line-ups you’ll find anywhere in the world, Ultra has well and truly outgrown the Winter Music Conference. The decision to move WMC to the 8-12 March did nothing to stop Ultra’s momentum, with the festival sold out 34 days in advance. Six stages were spread across the Park in downtown Miami to accommodate all the superstar names, with every corner of the site thoroughly rammed.

Over the weekend, inthemix was closely watching the updates from Miami, including an entertaining blog on the Miami New Times that included such journalistic pearls as this summary from Underworld’s Saturday night slot: “Ideally, I’d give you details, set highlights, etc. But the fact is, it was the kind of show you get swept up in. Plus, I might’ve been a little fucked up by 10pm last night.” Here’s what else we picked up from the scribes on the ground…

The mainstage on Friday got going with crowd-pleasers like Fedde Le Grand and Benny Benassi, before taking a diversion via ‘80s pop survivors Erasure and Duran Duran. “When we got here the music was really, really loud and really banging,” Erasure leader Andy Bell told the Los Angeles Times. “I was thinking, how we were going to fit in with this violence? Also, the audience is very young.”

It’s little surprise that Erasure’s performance wasn’t a galvanising moment of the festival, but it’s clear the kids still want Tiësto. The Dutchman closed the mainstage with a typically arena-sized set including his collaboration with countryman Hardwell, Zero 76, Mark Knight hook-up Beautiful World and a new remix of Kanye West’s Lost In The World. Textbook Tijs.

In a recent interview, Ultra co-founder Russell Faibisch remarked that he was most excited about seeing the Carl Cox & Friends Arena in action – a “two-storey mega-structure” custom-built for the festival. French maestro Laurent Garnier opened the arena on Friday with a four-hour live/DJ set, before Loco Dice took over to a heaving dancefloor.

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