Ultra Music Festival 2012: Cheers and Jeers

Posted by on Friday, March 30th, 2012

What felt like the world of electronic music, gathered in Miami last weekend for this year’s Ultra Music Festival; a mega 3 day festival dedicated to the very best in EDM.  With all genres covered, repping D&B were the likes of Andy C, Chase & Status and Camo & Krooked in attendance.

Based in the UK but not wanting to miss out on the UMF hype, much of last Saturday and Sunday was spent closely following artists’ tweets, checking out Facebook photos and watching random snippets of live footage recorded on camera phones and posted on YouTube, secretly wishing we’d booked our flights to MIA months before.  But luckily, TiD&B’s US representative Melissa Chadwick was there and with a front row pass to all the action, she reflects on the UMF highs, and lows…



My mini vacation to Miami is officially over and I’m sitting here in my living room back in Baltimore, Maryland, with my dance-weary feet up on the ottoman and computer resting on my lap.  The only light show I see tonight is the hospital helipad landing signal as the nearby medevac lands periodically.  And, as much as I love the water view from my apartment window, the inlet is not of quite the turquoise hue that flowed alongside the Ultra venue down at Bayfront Park downtown.

But enough with waxing poetically about the last few days; I’m going to use this reflective time to share with you my experience at Ultra Music Festival.  I’m going to forego being diplomatic for a second here though to share what I really feel about the whole experience, the music, and the scene.

To balance out the highs and lows, I’ll take you on a cheers and jeers journey…

Cheers: Hand-in-Hand Teamwork

Camo & Krooked’s 9-10 pm set at the UMF Worldwide stage on Friday night was the clear highlight of Day 1.  They pumped out a high-octane set that seamlessly mixed in old and new to keep everyone crazed beginning to end.  Even better, was their nod to yesteryear when they threw out a few tunes like DJ Krust’s ‘Warhead’, which this girl (and everyone else) naturally geeked out to.

Camo & Krooked live at UMF 2012


Jeers:  Left Hand, Meet Right Hand

What I was really excited about was the High Contrast B2B Netsky set on Saturday. It’s not that often we get to see these guys in the States so I wanted to soak it  all up.  But a good team effort by Camo & Krooked the night before kind of ruined things for me.  Or maybe, it was the fact that I was half asleep rushing to get there in time for their early noon Saturday slot.  But whatever it was I saw, something wasn’t totally working.  It wasn’t the High Contrast I saw solo in San Francisco earlier this year.  Tell me this wasn’t normal. Please.

Cheers: People Watching

After taking a seat on the hill by the live stage I slowed down for a second to take a look around.  Ultra was a veritable mecca for people watching – as any such event is.  It was nice to be amongst everyone and have some sort of common bond.  That said, I couldn’t help think I was witnessing some underground corporate ploy by the fashion industry to brainwash us all into wearing more acid washed jeans and the same five trucker hats featuring tremendously insightful and pithy statements about what people are truly thinking like “Rage” or better yet, “I’m in Miami Bitch!”


Photo by Kabir Khiatani for The Miami Herald

Jeers: People Smelling

Miami is hot.  The venue was pretty sunny.  Open air or not, just remember to be kind to the people you are rubbing up against in close quarters.

Cheers: Older Crowd Rockin’ Out

My friends and I debated the demographics of Ultra this year.  Maybe it’s because we’re approaching what some of the ‘kids’ at these shows would probably define as geriatric (i.e. I can actually legally purchase this beer).  My guess was 75% were under the age of 20.  Nothing wrong with that – it’s all for the love of the music – but what keeps me going is seeing the older crowd rock out harder than anyone else. It makes me truly happy and gives me hope for years down the road.  Although I was a bit confused when a few of them brought their children, even toddlers in a few cases…

Jeers: Madonna

I will not qualify this further for fear of making her still appear relevant.

Cheers: Bathrooms

So I got pretty pissed off at one point when I found myself in a ridiculously long bathroom line for about an hour.  I readily joined my friend in his rant about corporate greed at the expense of my bladder.  That was before I stumbled upon the massive Port-a-City at the other end of the park. I eat my words Ultra – you did ok there.

Jeers: $10 RBVs, $7 Beer & $5 Water

Where Ultra didn’t do ok is in the affordable hydration department. $5 bottles of water? I guess they had to offset alcohol sales since it’s under 21. Regardless, spending the money there was a necessary evil.  Oh and on the arepas.  Lots of delicious arepas.


But let’s not end on a sour note – like some of the ones Andy C briefly stumbled upon in his set (which overall was still great nonetheless).  What I want to really come across is that Ultra was an amazing experience where I got to enjoy some great talent, all in one beautiful beachside venue.  Aside from the drum and bass, I loved the opportunity to be amongst other EDM lovers and see history come alive with the likes of Kraftwerk and more.

Will I go next year? We’ll just have to see what my hat tells me to do.

Posted on: 30/03/12 Categories: Reviews TiD&B Features


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