Ever since deciding to go to Miami, I had constantly been comparing it with EDC before even experiencing Ultra. For some reason, I’ve always had a love for partying through the wee-hours of the morning and not seeing the sun until departing from the festival. When we arrived in Miami, I knew I had to put these notions aside and enjoy every minute of the next 72 hours. We arrived at Bayfront Park using the overpacked, free and convenient metromover and the view was stunning. By arriving on Miami’s metromover, we had the advantage of seeing Bayfront Park as a whole. Immediately, I got the same overwhelming feeling as when I initially walked into EDC a few years back, there was so much ground to cover, so many different stages. My eyes were darting from the Main Stage to the Carl Cox & Friends Arena and even some of the small stages fixated in the outskirts of the park. Entry to the festival was 10X easier than EDC, where security guards are worse than your TSA agent. After taking in my surroundings and catching my breath, it was time to get out there and experience the hype of Ultra. We’ve got a whole lot more after the jump!
MiMOSA played on one of the smaller stages of Ultra but he did not let that influence the size of the sound that he brought to Miami. For a 6pm set time playing against the likes of Neon Indian, Martin Solveig, and Chris Lake there was a excellent crowd that was getting geared up for the rest of the night. The set consisted mostly of new remixes that I had not heard before it remained true to MiMOSA’s hip-hop inspired tracks saturated with crunchy bass-lines and melodic synths.
After seeing both Paper Diamond and MiMOSA go back-to-back, it was time to check out Ultra’s main stage. Upon being introduced with his girlfriend (Paris Hilton) and Lil Jon, Afrojack comes on and admits with a horse voice that “he’s partied too hard” this week and was “nervous” since he was going to drop some new tracks. After a few swigs from his
medicine magnum of Grey Goose, he announced he wasn’t nervous anymore and went right into “Bangduck” and “Polkadots”. With Lil Jon as an emcee for the evening, we knew the intensity and energy would be there. Afrojack’s selection of songs were great and his new tracks quickly engaged the crowd. To wrap up his set, Afrojack was joined by Shermanology for a live performance of “Can’t Stop Me” as well as R3hab’s XS Remix of “Without You. This was amazing end to his performance and was the perfect lead into seeing Skrillex.
After Afrojack wrapped up his set, there was roughly 20 minutes before Skrillex was set to take the stage. We were patiently waiting for 15 minutes when all of a sudden a timer appeared across the LED screens surrounding the stage and with less than a minute left the crowd started going crazy! We were stoked to see Skrillex perform on this year’s main stage, and we had a feeling he’d have something special in store for the massive crowd. One thing we’ve learned about Sonny is that he every show is planned carefully, from the audio and setlist to the graphics and crowd engagement. As he took the stage, we quickly noticed he was debuting a brand new spaceship stage that would eventually “blast off” during his set. The highlight of his set was when he dropped his brand new original track with reggae-legend Damian Marley “Rudeboy”. This finally put an end to all rumors circulating around the blogosphere that these two would be working together. Overall, the energy was exactly what you’d expect from not only Sonny Moore but the crowd too. Other notable tracks were “Cinema” (Skrillex Remix), “Who is Ready to Jump” (Dillon Francis Remix), “Everyday” (Netsky Remix) and had a strong finish with one of my favorite tracks off Bangarang, “Kyoto”.
After about 15 minutes of Tiesto it was time to make moves towards one of the most anticipated acts of the night — Pretty Lights. After shuffling through a sea of people moving against us towards the main stage, we posted up on a gently sloped grassy area near the back of the Live Stage. With his set being one of the shortest sets scheduled in the upwards of 10 times of seeing Pretty Lights in action I could only hope that my feelings of skepticism would be crushed. One again, Derek brought the heat to a cooling Miami night.
Photography by: Andre Velez