Posted April 10, 2013
By RACHEL JANOSEC
Ultra Music Festival celebrated its 15-year anniversary this year at the Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. It is difficult to put such an amazingly huge festival into words; one must just attend even a day of this festival to truly experience it for themselves.
Festival-goers this year had the choice of choosing from two different weekends because that is just how big Ultra has become.
Weekend two sold out almost immediately for obvious reasons. It was the legendary DJ group Swedish House Mafia’s last show ever to be played on its last tour for which it has been traveling around the world. Swedish House Mafia was the headliners Sunday night.
This final performance is what people in the crowds of more than 60,000 each day were waiting to see and was all anybody at the event discussed.
Until then, Electronic Dance Music lovers of all ages dressed in ridiculous outfits, or little to no clothes, bounced around the seven different stages of Ultra in the hot Miami heat waiting for the final show.
The three-day all-day festival held seven major stages that produced out of this world neon light shows and blaring speakers. Each stage hosted about seven different DJs throughout the day and each stage went with the DJs personal style of EDM.
The festival allowed the audience to pick if they wanted to listen to House, Techno, Trance or Dubstep music and then had maps all around the park pointing to which stage was hosting which DJ and at what time. Moving from stage to stage can be very hard and almost impossible due to the crowds, so most people stayed at one stage during the day.
On Saturday of the second weekend, the Drop Zone stage was by far the most popular one, to the point that you couldn’t even come close to it. This stage featured all Dubstep artists and this style of EDM is very popular right now.
Some of the stand-out performances from this stage on Saturday were Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, Bassnectar and, of course, the headliner for the evening, Borgore, my personal favorite. He connected to the crowd in a way that no other artist did by getting on the microphone and giving shout outs, which pumped everyone up.
The crowd inside the stage might as well have not even showered on this day. It was so hot and sweaty and no one could even move. But Borgore puts on such an amazing live performance that no one even cared how hot they were, the crowd was going absolutely insane, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before.
One plus this year was that they offered free water for everyone, which is crucial if you want to make it through the weekend. Most people at the festival are heavily drinking all day in the sun and get extremely dehydrated, so after many demands they set up free water stations.
It is also very easy to lose your group of friends once inside the show, so Ultra had a free Wi-Fi connection set up that people could use for five minutes at a time in order to contact your friends or whatever else you needed to do. These two small things made the show even more enjoyable.
After three long days of partying and dancing, Sunday night rolled around and everyone was anxiously awaiting Swedish House Mafia’s farewell performance. This supergroup is made up of three very popular house DJ’s known as Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso and together they make up the world-famous and award-winning group.
And, if you know anything about the EDM world, to be part of their last show ever on their last tour ever as a group is nothing but legendary.
The crowds started storming the main stage of Ultra where the group would perform hours before in order to get anywhere near the front. The main stage is the largest stage and holds the most people, but it was absolute madness hours before this performance. No one could move even if they wanted too and if you tried to move past people towards the front a fight would break out and people would be yelled at. The scene was nothing close to a friendly, loving rave scene that most people think of when they hear about festivals like this.
Swedish House Mafia came out at exactly 9:30 sharp, introduced themselves and the crowd literally went wild. There were girls everywhere on shoulders crying and taking videos, there were circles of people dancing around together, confetti, bubbles and fireworks in the air during the entire 90-minute show. One could tell that Ultra clearly went all out for this performance.
The group played its No. 1 hit that is all over radio stations right now, “Don’t You Worry Child” and remixed it with other famous songs a bunch of times.
The overall performance definitely qualified as an outstanding last performance ever for the group. The speakers were blaring, just as the EDM crowds like it, and the music was crystal clear. Axwell, Angello and Ingrosso entertained the crowd with hand gestures and by constantly yelling through the microphone. This really added to the performance and helped the crowd relate with the artists.
In the end, it was a show like nothing else I have ever seen and emotions were so high that it truly made this last performance unforgettable. Anyone with a love for this genre of music would have died to see it live and agree that it was the only way Ultra could go out this year.
But another highlight from weekend two that seemed to impress people even more was when the DJ Chuckie brought out a surprise guest. The guest happened to be no other then Slash the guitarist from Guns ‘N Roses. This came as a complete shock to the crowd, but was a very pleasant surprise. It is nice when a DJ throws in a little twist into his or her set that the audience wouldn’t expect.
And, in my mind, this made Chuckie’s DJ set the best of Ultra weekend two. Once again, no one can really put into words just how awesome this music festival is, you have to witness the magic for yourself, Ultra never disappoints.
- What— Ultra Music Festival 2013
- Where— Bayfront Park, Downtown Miami
- When— Weekend one, March 15-17; Weekend two March 22-24
- No parking— take Metro
- Arrive early to avoid the huge long lines
- 18 plus to get in or with a parent
- Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen
- Food and drink available, but expensive
- 9.5 out of 10 star rating