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Entries in Ultra Music Festival (9)


Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: Live Stage Amphitheater (Saturday)

We all know that Saturday of UMF Weekend 1 has one of the best lineups of any dance music festival to ever hit the shores of the US. But beyond the main stage there are still a lot of offerings for those searching for other-worldly auditory journeys. The prevailing theme of the day at the Live Stage amphitheater Saturday is psychedelia. From psytrance to Indie pop to Glitch-Hop, the live stage is your go-to stop for transcedental vibes and feels that are sure to open up your senses to unchartered territories. 


Afrobeta opens up the Live Stage on Saturday with an infectious, upbeat, funky vibe sure to put you in a happy party mood for the rest of the day! This Electro-Dance duo hails from Ultra’s backyard, Miami, and it’s hard to imagine their music without the influence of beach club life that is so derivative of Miami culture. Cuci Amador and Smurphio comprise Afrobeta, and their combined influences and interest in twisted electro-pop are what make their tracks so fun. Sugary sweet synths get dirtier with super danceable basslines, and Cuci’s voice is like the more melodic version of Ke$ha, spitting out party-themed lyrics with girly poise. A super fun, sunny way to start off Saturday in Miami!!

Icona Pop

If you haven’t heard of Icona Pop by this point, your other habits might include accidentally writing 2012 on all your papers. The Swedish Electro-Pop and House duo is comprised of the lovely Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, who are the voices behind that insanely catchy dance-pop anthem “I Love It” which has been licensed to HBO’s show “Girls” and several television commercials, including those promoting Governor’s Ball. The girls display influences ranging from indie rock, punk, and Electro-House, but there’s a reason their single has blown up as of late: it’s so fucking fun. This song absolutely makes you want to jump up and down, thrash around and yell along to the best chorus ever: “I DON’T CAAARE!” 


Azari & III

(Pronounced Azari and the Third!) What began as a DJ duo between Dinamo Azari and Alixander III transformed into Azari & III with the addition of two vocalists, Starving Yet Full and Fritz Helder. This foursome have a distinct sound, which can be described as a reinvention of 80s style Deep House; it incorporates smooth synths, a dance-y, repetitive bassline, and soulful vocals. Azari and III are relatively new to the scene, breaking in 2011 and enjoying a steady, successful incline since then.  They’ve played at major shows in England like the Glastonbury Festival and Lovebox Festival, so they’re quite comfortable performing live. This should be a set full of seamless mixing and smooth tracks


Not to play favorites but… I cannot say enough good things about Disclosure! This is one set I will flat out recommend, as Disclosure is proving again and again that they deserve every ounce of fame and praise they’re receiving right now. English brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence are the tastemakers behind Disclosure, and each track is more exciting and enticing than the last. They’ve been around since 2010, but the 2012 release of their EP The Face launched them headfirst into the spotlight, with singles like “Tenderly / Flow” and “White Noise” (ft. AlunaGeorge). Their sound is a refreshing mix of indie-garage, deep house and funk, and it's purely addictive. There was a point when I had replayed Latch (ft. Sam Smith) so often that now I have to force myself not to sing along every time it comes up on shuffle (I usually lose that inner battle). This is one live set I will not be missing!

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Ultra Weekend 1 Editor's Highlight: Main Stage Saturday

Ultra is all about Main Stage memories. There's something magic that happens when tens of thousands of people collide with the pulsating sound, the humid air, and each other with the twinkling lights of Downtown Miami as the backdrop. I've been from LA to Las Vegas to New York and beyond in search of that ultimate main stage experience, which often leaves much to be desired. It wouldn't take me long to say that Ultra has the best main stage of all the US festivals, but that was so last year. This year the lawn at Bayfront Park is about to transform into something never done before. While I admit that we hadn't seen the lineup when choosing between the first and second weekend, I have to say that this is without a doubt the most I've ever anticipated a single day in my life. Festival curation is a gift, and Saturday March 16 is the crème de la crème.

Miss Nine

Starting off the afternoon steamy is one of EDM's hottest female stars. Kicking off her career as a model at the age of 16 in Germany, she soon found her first residency after moving to Amsterdam in 2003, playing alongside veterans John Digweed and more. Flash to 2006 and Nine is at the top of the iTunes dance charts with her massively well-received Yoshitoshi Ibiza mix. Kristin Schorat continues to be a force to reckon with both within dance music circles and the international modeling circuit as an ambassador to Levi's.

Tommie Sunshine

No one reps the NYC EDMC harder than Tommie Sunshine. The veteran House DJ has held dominion over the Tri-State EDM circuit for many years, but in most recent developments has emerged as one of our scene's fiercest advocates. There's no doubt in my mind that Tommie will bring to the table an eclectic set of deep groove when he takes to the Main Stage Saturday afternoon. It takes true talent to bring down the house at 7:00 PM, but that's exactly what he did last week opening for Zedd at Webster Hall. This is Tommie's time to shine and I'm sure he'll impress the crowd with his expertise.


Here's where the afternoon starts to really shine. Unlike last year which relegated many of the bass acts to a smaller stage, Saturday afternoon this year is all about the bass. With his Firepower tour now "Reloaded," Datsik has throughout the past few months accummulated a lot of support from up and coming bass acts, giving him a huge advantage in the form of new music to play. And with the Vortex ready for the mainstage, I'm not sure if I'm ready. Datsik may have never played a crowd this big but it will be interesting to see what the notorious dubstepper has in store for the huge party. 


Borgore's a simple guy. He likes girls. He likes bass. He likes both together even more. The loudest sets I've heard have all been from this Israeli Doctor of Dubstep, most recently his set for the UKF launch party here in New York City. As a go-to face-melter for the scene for many years, Borgore has in most recent months worked on getting his foot in the door of the emerging Trap phenomenon. Whether you go for the bass or just the booty you'll be drenched by the time it's over.

Flux Pavilion vs. Doctor P

If the sheer excitement I'm feeling right now just from writing these names down isn't enough to convince you, I'll take a stab at it. There's a certain exclusivity of the long roster of tracks these two put out. After you get past the obvious Circus hits "I Can't Stop" and "Gold Dust," these two when combined put on a show like none other. I'll be honest and say a lot of dubstep DJs just aren't good at mixing overall, but this couldn't be further from the case for these two. With a stacked playlist of hits and new tracks at their disposal, on a scale of 1 to 10 this set will be gnarly. 

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Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: MegaStructure Friday

15 years is a huge landmark for Ultra Music Festival. Starting as a single-day beach festival, the event quickly drew a larger and larger crowd each year. Not only has the scope of the weekend changed, but so has the vibe. Yet the one thing that will always keep Ultra as the premiere dance music event is its loyalty to the style of music that launched it, in the form of the MegaStructure stage. Miami has seen many scenes throughout the years, but this is 2013. It's about to peak, and I hope you're ready. 

Fatboy Slim

English DJ and record producer Norman Cook has been a world-renowned phenomenon for over two decades. As one of the major pioneers of the big-beat sound, Fatboy has held many pseudonyms over the years but always held true to the same sound that led him to top the US pop charts for 20 weeks ("Praise You") and to play for the Olympics ceremony last summer in London! From House to Funk to even a touch of Rock, Fatboy Slim experiments with different sounds, paving the way for many other artists to follow in his footsteps. For all you dance music lovers who have yet to experience in some Slim, get ready for a mega show at the Mega Structure!

Carl Cox

Another British DJ/Producer who's been taking over the world for many years, Carl Cox is the grandfather of Tech House, and the genre's most vibrant character. He has been part of the scene since disco and still going stronger than ever as one of earth's most prominent dance music forces. With a mix of passion, flavor, flair and soul, Cox holds a legendary Ibiza residency and a global radio show reaching millions of listeners. The Carl Cox & friends arena has been the spot to be the last few years I've been at Ultra, so I can't recommend anything more than catching his set Friday right before Swedish House Mafia! Prepare yourselves for the very best of what Ultra has to offer.

John Digweed

Another Brit, Digweed first started DJing at the young age of 15. From a weekly two hour radio show on Kiss 100 in UK, to holding a Saturday residency at Ibiza's Vista Club, Digweed has had his ups and downs over the years but has never faded into obscurity. In 2001 he was voted the best DJ in the world, though he held a coveted spot in the top 10 from '98-'08. As an artist with a stacked discography, Digweed has in recent years aggressively targeted the record sales industry, taking under his belt the commanding roll of Bedrock Records. His last North American tour was a huge success as he ripped through the nightlife of the USA with fellow House legend Sasha. Be sure to check out their mix below, it's widely known as one of the best mixes of our time.

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Free Download: My Favorite Sets from Ultra Music Festival 2012

The anticipation is building. It's getting cold on the East Coast, and we're all thinking about spring, sun, and the amazing festival season that awaits us on the other end of this hell. Today I'm feeling nostalgic about last year's venture down south to Miami for Ultra, which was one of the best experiences of my life. So now I present you with some of my favorite live sets from last year's festival. Unfortunately I couldn't include quite all of them (KASKADE!) because of sound quality and availability, but this covers quite a few and will keep me satisfied until March rolls around. 

Pretty Lights

I've seen Derek play quite a few times but this was by far the best performance I've seen from him. The live stage at last year's Ultra was made for PL. I'm hoping they pick the same if he shows up for on the 15th anniversary lineup.

Carl Cox

Blew my mind. This guy is incredible and since he doesn't tour around the US too much, you must see him at Ultra this year. Last year he played in the afternoon at his own stage, and it was perfect. Tech House at its very best. Be sure not to miss him this year.

Bingo Players

Fuck these two are good. I'm not much for the House that gets a lot of radio play, but these two pull it off more than any two I've seen. Last year's set was mindblowing, here's to hoping they make it out again this year. 


The ASOT 550 setup was prime last year, and I'm hoping that it's the same this year for weekend 2. ATB did an astonishing performance for the radio show last year, you'll just have to hear to believe what I mean.

Fedde le Grand

This set alone probably sent Fedde from budding DJ to superstar. One of the sunniest, most happiest afternoons I can remember, with this as the soundtrack. Get sauced and blast this shit.

Dash Berlin

ASOT 550 was something for the books, and I loved getting down in the afternoon to the sound of Dash Berlin. The Expedition makes its grand return to Bayfront Park this March. See you there.

By Edward Fancher 


Track of the Day: "Sparks" - Fedde Le Grand & Nicky Romero (Music Video)

This is one Progressive House banger!!! Fedde Le Grand and Nicky Romero's collaboration with "Sparks" really shines, especially when Matthew Koma (of Zedd's "Spectrum") throws his vocals into the mix. A highly energetic track topped off with a killer music video showing the craziness that went down at Ultra Music Festival Miami back in March makes "Sparks" an easy pick for Track of the Day here on EDM Lounge. Press play, dance, and "turn off your mind!"

Out now on Beatport!

By Edward Fancher