Putting Reality on Pause at Ultra Music Festival
Apr 3, 2023
5 min read
Walking through Bayfront Park and into the Ultra Music Festival grounds was indescribable. Like a kid walking through a candy store, an immediate sense of being gripped by a symphony of visuals and sounds rushed through our souls, and it was difficult to focus on any one thing.
As we passed by the Resistance stage, the pulsing bass of Anfisa Letyago's set resonated deep within us, beckoning us to come closer and experience the techno side of Ultra Music Festival. The urge to join the crowd and dance like no one was watching was irresistible.
As we continued exploring, attendees drowned in a sea of LED lights flickering and dancing in sync with the beat, every one a symbol of their own unique personal style and expression. Ravers bustled by, wrists adorned with kandee, each bead holding a meaning or cherished memory. The atmosphere is as thick as the Florida humidity as swarms of festival attendees make their way past fellow ravers engulfed in shimmering glitter and joy.
Amidst the throngs of dancers making their way towards the mainstage to catch the performances from top acts like Dom Dolla, Hardwell, and Vintage Culture, a crowd of Ultra Angels formed a shuffling circle at the center of the festivities. The sight of a group of ladies moving in perfect harmony, gliding across the floor with such fluidity that it appears wet, ignites a fire within. Ultra's meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the dancers' outfits is truly noteworthy, as it elevates their presence and perfectly aligns with the festival's energy and theme.
Ultra's Live Stage put us in the mood to break some neck and ride the rail while hiding beneath a pashmina with the stinkiest stank face. We're still basking in the adrenaline-pumping euphoria of Kayzo's debut Unleashed XL live performance a week later. The hybrid DJ and live set featured Kayzo throwing down on the decks, backed by a live guitarist and drummer. The fiery flames, eerie visuals, and the massive cage housing two imposing, glowing-eyed prop Dobermans all contributed to a spellbinding experience that left necks sore.
Black Tiger Sex Machine at Ultra Music Festival 2023
When it comes to production and set design, Black Tiger Sex Machine consistently delivers a flawless experience that seamlessly weaves together stunning visuals and a compelling narrative, all while unleashing some of the most jaw-dropping bass music you'll ever encounter. They created a mesmerizing multisensory spectacle.
Franky Wah delivered an emotionally charged performance on Saturday, electrifying the crowd with his SHÈN presents energy and dropping his latest single, "Alive," - a collaboration with Vintage Culture. Hearing the song in person was an even more serene experience.
The weather can often make or break a music festival experience, but fortunately, the sun shone bright, and the skies remained clear for three days. The immaculate weather elevated the liberating environment, allowing festivalgoers fully let loose and take in all the outdoor stages and activities without any weather-related interruptions. Miami's warm and balmy climate, paired with the breathtaking waterfront location of the festival, shaped a picture-perfect backdrop for a weekend punctuated by incredible music, friends, and fun.
Beyond the music, Ultra makes impressive use of Bayside Park's space, dotting it with gorgeous art installations and plenty of room to chill away from the crowds. Near the main stage, dancers could recharge in the shade while still enjoying the music and catching a glimpse of Ultra's iconic flower symbol or the truly mindbending Sentient by sculptor Daniel Popper.
For an urban festival, it still felt truly immersive and communal. And despite the din of the surrounding city, Ultra gave everyone a chance to pause the chaos of life for three days, replacing the disorder of the everyday with a sense of togetherness that celebrates life, music, and loving one another.
On Sunday, techno and house took over, with attendees either losing themselves in the pulsating rhythms at the Resistance Megastructure or relaxing on the grass at Resistance Cove. The wonky and fun electric grooves of Dirtybird soundtracked the later's bayside locale amidst a grove of palm trees. Watching everyone melt into the grass while VNSSA was ripping up the decks was the cherry on top of a successful weekend. Having the option to kick back and bop your head to tasteful house or dance on a grassy field surrounded by loved ones is a truly gratifying experience.
Dirtybird at Resistance Cove
The Megastructure is another world entirely. As the King of Ibiza, Carl Cox, closed out Resistance on Sunday, with a set that will be talked about for years to come, I was awestruck by the lights on the Megastructure ceiling as they rose and fell seamlessly with the funky techno rhythms.
Ultra-Miami Music Festival is one of those events to check off the bucket list if you're into diverse lineups, world-renowned artists, visually appealing art installations, and getting a break from reality for three days. If you've already ticked it off your bucket list, it's undoubtedly an event worth revisiting. From the sexy techno beats at the Resistance stage to the neck-breaking rhythms at the Live Stage, to the blissful performances at Main Stage, and everything in between, Ultra Miami Music Festival offers something for everyone.