Spring Break: Ultra Music Festival & Miami Music Week recap


* Photo credit – Barbara Corbellini Duarte and ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL.

The 2017 festival season is in full swing and we’ve been busy catching planes, checking into hotels and following your favorite artists around the country. Our spring break led us on a 5 day getaway to Miami, Florida for the legendary Ultra Music Festival and Miami Music Week.

Sun in your face and beautiful people everywhere. No, this isn’t Los Angeles, but its close. Home to exotic night life, incredible Caribbean cuisine and drop dead gorgeous beach views, the 3 day Ultra Music Festival is rooted in a city with a deep appreciation for music and culture.

In the course of 6 days, Miami Music Week, an extension of Ultra, hosts 120 parties prior to the weekend of Ultra. That’s a lot of dancing to fit into your schedule (my fitbit said 34 miles of dancing to be exact). Of course we weren’t able to attend every party but here are some of our highlights of Miami Music Week events:

Guy Gerber presents “Rumors” @ The Delano Hotel

If the Delano wasn’t already the coolest hotel in south beach with its own sushi bar, massive pool with king sized sun beds and beach front access, Rumors label boss Guy Gerber took over the decks poolside for the evening with friends. Pete Tong even stopped by for the party.

Hernan Cattaneo & Nick Warren @ the Treehouse

The Treehouse was described as a club the locals went to for more underground house/techno. Stuffed like a sardine can and boasting a robust sound system, the club delivered and the party went into the better part of 6am.

Claude VonStroke presents the Birdhouse @ The Delano Hotel

Dirtybird label boss Claude Vonstroke brought the heat with guests like Solardo, Joris Voorn and Honey Dijon.

Carl Cox presents his Disco, Funk and Soul Event @ Basement Miami

That’s right, a solid 5 hour set of Carl Cox donning an Afro and delivering extended cuts of trash disco, funky house and soul classics. Carl was delighted to dig deep into his crates to give the crowd something other than his signature techno sets.

Play differently presents @ Space Miami

From 11pm to 3pm the following day, heavy weight DJ’s like Ritchie Hawtin, Nicole Moudaber, Victor Calderone, Louie Vega and Pig and Dan ruled the infamous Space Miami. When visiting Space, be sure to bring your sunglasses as you’re surely ending your morning on the terrace, bathing in the sunrise on the dance floor.

While MMW was massive, contagious and had amazing stamina through out the week, it was finally time to attend Ultra Music Festival.

Droves of people littered the streets in downtown Miami, donning crazy colorful outfits, t-shirts with their favorite artists, flags of every country visiting. It was a beautiful scene with people from around the world coming together to enjoy the music that has inspired them.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Miami without a little bit torrential downpour, which is exactly what happened as we approached the grounds Saturday. Even with the rain, the crowds were more than willing to bare the elements, standing in mud shoulder to shoulder.

Our first stop was the live stage which was showcasing a rather impressive line up this year including Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, The Prodigy, Justice, Rabbit on the moon and Underworld. Perhaps one of the most dynamic stages, the live stage gave the crowd more interactive sets with a special energy harkening back to rock concerts. Justice debuted their new stunning visuals, The Prodigy showed us that decades later, they STILL sound like the record and Cypress Hill assured us they were still down with the herb.

Next, was the Carl Cox megastructure, the Resistance stage was home to the techno and Trance aficionados. The tunnel of sound was graced with the like of Sasha & Digweed, Adam Beyer, Maceoplex, Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and Carl Cox himself. If you came to get your face melted by deep
frequencies and driving beats, this was your stage.

The highly talked about Arcadia Spider was a sight to see. Equipped with fire canons, acrobats and moving spider legs, the Arcadia spider stage even had its own visual performance, wowing the crowd and passerby’s. Headliners included Technasia, Jamie Jones and Dubfire just to name a few.

Finally, as the rain let up, the Main stage action was gaining momentum. The heavy hitters were ready to set the night on fire. Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Tiesto and Axwell^Ingrosso closed out the evening with high energy sets and mesmerizing light shows. The crowd cried, screamed, yelled, jumped and danced and by midnight, the mass exodus from the mud pits began and festival goers took their tired bodies back to the hotels and prepare for either the after parties or the final day of the festival.

The level or organization needed for these events is gargantuan and from our experience, these needs were met in every way imaginable. We will definitely be coming back to Miami next year to celebrate Ultra Music Festival’s 20th anniversary.

About Chris

Chris Zane is Houston DJ and DOD contributor, holding residencies at nightclubs such as Rich's, Rosemont and The Boulevardier. Zane has also hosted University of Houston podcasts "The Morning BPM" and "The Zephyr Lounge".

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