With so many acts performing during the three days of Ultra Music Festival 2012, there’s no way to see all of them. We’re forced to choose what we think will be best and just hope our picks put on a show worth watching. Sometimes we strike gold and are thoroughly entertained, but of course, there are other sets that leave us wondering what the hell these artists were thinking.
On top of the music, there are so many other parts of a festival that work together to try and create what’s called “The UMF Experience.” From attendance to stage arrangements, Porta Pottys to drink stations — each feature of such a large scale event can have a serious effect on one’s opinion. I’m one of those people who can have tons of fun no matter where they are, but there were definitely a few specific pros and cons of this past Ultra Music Fest that have stuck to my memory.
These are the UMF 2012 happenings that had the greatest impression on me:
1. Avicii disappoints on Main Stage Saturday Night
It was just a year and a half ago mybeatFix interviewed Avicii when he played at Mansion in Miami. At that time, he was just starting to establish himself as a popular figure in the dance music world. And, although he may have made his way to headlining Ultra in such a short period of time, I think he should be pretty embarrassed by what he presented to festival-goers while headlining Saturday night. After giving what I thought was the second skimpiest introduction speech (after Afrojack who had to apologize before he started because he was tired from partying all week), Avicii’s performance was as good as searching his name on your iTunes and letting the results shuffle. HE DIDN’T EVEN PLAY FREAKING BROMANCE! With such fame comes responsibility and I think that’s something Avicii needs to realize. And I could go into the whole Madonna drama, but what else is there to even say? The obvious: the Queen did a great job making his performance that much worse.
2. Carl Cox’s tent continues to stand strong
Didn’t anyone else notice that Carl Cox pulled a bit of a Randy Jackson…and shrunk? Obviously the man can still pull his weight (bad joke) and throw down a great set, not just one, but two! Of all the stages (surprise surprise) I thought the Carl Cox/State of Trance tent was the best. No matter where you are standing or listening from, the music always sounds great, the lights are all around you, and you’re never sardine packed. What more could you want from a tent? With big names like Loco Dice, Richie Hawtin, and Seth Troxler spinning sick tracks, like I said in my previous post, this tent is magical. It was also kind of cool to see Armin Van Buuren spin in on a smaller stage before he hit main stage on Sunday. I thought he played in more of his element.
3. The Legendary Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is so fucking cool. Having them headline Ultra was like having the Beach Boys come to The Grammy’=s. I didn’t watch their entire performance because I was trying to catch some of another set as well, but what I saw was so old school. When I first arrived at the Live Stage for their show, the first thing that caught my eye was their throw-back visuals. Being that they’ve been around since the 70s, I thought it was cool that they made it clear they were the original “Robots.”
With big room dance music being so popular, I feel that Kraftwerk’s slower sounding set might have been a bit difficult for your typical festie to appreciate. Of course, I’m sure anyone who knows about the Star Trek looking legends were happy they were even at Ultra.
4. Squeezed and confused
Unlike the previous set up at Bicentennial Park, where there was plenty of room to move, Bayfront park was an Ultra maze (pun intended). Having to use my map every ten minutes to figure out where I’m at isn’t my idea of fun. Also, having to squeeze through the zillions of people just to get from one stage to another was fucking miserable. Sure, once you get to a stage and find a good spot, you’re golden, but I’m not crazy about being covered in 36 different kinds of sweat once I get there. Who’s to blame? Personally, I just think there were too many tickets sold to the festival. That, paired with the Disney World I-have-to-rely-on-my-map set up, just gave me a headache.
I mean, look at the freakin’ map. It’s like you have to study it to know where you’re going!
5. Dillon Francis on the UMF Worldwide Stage
I was pretty bummed I missed Annie Mac’s set on the UMF Worldwide stage, but I’m thrilled I got to see Dillon Francis’ set right before because it was kick-ass. I’d never seen him play before, and I also didn’t know all that much about him, except that I’d heard he puts on one hell of a show. Being it was one of the rather smaller stages and was a bit hard to find (shame on you Ultra stage layout crew), I thought the UMF Worldwide stage was quite the success. It hosted some of the best acts Ultra 2012 had, had great lighting and was right next to the water (oh how I love Miami).
Listening to Dillon Francis’ set also reintroduced me to Flosstradamus, a duo I’d been meaning to check out for a while now, but just never got around to. Here’s one of the tracks I heard from them and if you like it, click here for more info on the Chicago twosome!
On a scale of one to ten, I’d give Ultra 2012 a five and that’s because I can’t decide what the fuck to actually give it. I definitely heard some awesome shows and music, but I thought the whole set up (especially compared to last year) kinda blew.
I think (and hope) that dance music artists start enhancing their visuals and I’m not talking about laser lights and photos flashing on a screen. I think show-goers are going to start looking for more of a performance from these artists rather than just listening to them play their music. It might sound a bit odd because Ultra MUSIC Festival is obviously supposed to be about the music. But, I think artists who can pair their music with a visual show that compliments their style, will be the one’s at the top.