Ultra Music Festival Preview

by Pete Tremblay
03.19.2010

The month of March is always a strange, strange time of the year – in 2010 particularly so. The weather doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself, everyone is wondering when the next earthquake is going to hit, and (if you own a Toyota Prius) when the ghost in your car is going to ask itself, “I wonder if these bastards mind if do 90?” Surely the unrest and anxiety the world is mired and needs a break. The thing is, no matter what the headlines read, the weather does, or the molten magma of the earth’s crust decides to do, for the last 25 years there has been a consistent event that has taken place in the tropical oasis that is Miami.

Beginning on March 23rd the bass begins to drop and the streets of South Beach and downtown MIA fill to the brim with a subculture as diverse as the amount of languages you are bound to hear while walking down Lincoln Road during Winter Music Conference 2010. As per usual, the decadence and peaceful insanity will come to a head and exciting conclusion with the Ultra Music Festival, the crown jewel and ending statement that electrophiles force themselves to wake up for (or stay awake to experience) yearly during WMC. The intimacy experienced during the parties of WMC are always exciting and memorable, but like it or not, they will always pale in comparison to the grandiose sensory exposition that every performing artist brings to the stage during Ultra.

It’s 2010 and the stakes are once again raised beyond expectation as nearly every electronic dance music artist and alternatively inspired globe-trotting hardware pusher that you may have heard of and wanted to experience live will probably be performing this year. The organizers of UMF have understood the magnitude of celebration that the 1/4 century anniversary deserves by unabashedly adding four new stages to the festival and inviting one of the most notable and interactive art/music installations in the world to be part of.

This year the Ultra main stage in Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami is once again hosting world renowned electronic music artists Tiësto and Deadmau5 to headline the festival, asking these architects inner-spatial audio chemistry to provide mind expanding and face exploding headlining sets on Friday March 26th and Saturday the 27th respectively.

These two behemoths of sound and showmanship are surely the lucky winners in a lottery of possible headliners that will be blowing minds in this Olympics of electronica. With names like Swedish House Mafia, Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, Rabbit in the Moon, Carl Cox, and Faithless Soundsystem, no matter what time, stage, or state of inebriation festival goers arrive at, disappointment  seems to be a near impossibility. Even the hipsters that tend to cross their arms and scoff at most everything will show their toe tapping appreciation this year by being treated to sets by Passion Pit, Little Boots and Boys Noize.

Ultra 2010 will also host some of the more interesting live collaborations and mash-ups of the year. A few announced partnerships to be expected are the irreplaceably unique Florence from Florence and the Machine along side Swedish House Mafia side by side on the main stage Saturday evening, along with Kelis teaming up with Benny Benassi for several songs during his set. Raggae will also represent when Damian Marley takes the main stage with Nas on Saturday. Godfathers of big beat electro, Orbital, have reformed for the event and are slated to play for the first time in the U.S. since disbanding in 2004.

A unique and interactive experience that will be found at Ultra this year is the Sonic Forrest art installation born from the mind of artist/composer Christopher Janney. The installation, which is described as “an interactive, aural and visual component that will entice festival goers into a unique environment” is a playground for sight sound and interaction that allows for participants to “play the forest” of 16 foot aluminum “trees” that house electronic musical components and interactive photocells where the participants are the musicians, with components reacting to the audiophiles movement and interaction with the installations environment.

Regardless of where you find yourself spending time this year, denizens of the Ultra universe will without a doubt walk away from 2010’s extravagant experience excited, exhausted and entranced from the nearly endless options, possibilities and events happening from sunrise to sunset at Ultra Music Festival 2010.

 

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