From outstanding live performances to spreading a communal message through the Eco Village, UMF Miami was a truly fantastic festival. The Sherp learned plenty from his second Miami outing this year and here’s a list of them. 

1. There was an abundance of Trance


Trance fans were the ones walking around with the biggest smiles at Ultra this year. Representing the genre at the mainstage this year were Dash Berlin, W&W, and Armin van Buuren. Day 2 was a complete take over by the Trance family at Stage 7 with many critically acclaimed trance artists like Solarstone, Giussepe Ottaviani, and Simon Patterson playing amazing sets. During the last day of Ultra, Armin van Buuren‘s ASOT occupied the Mega structure where Trance heavyweights like Markus Schulz, Andrew Bayer, Armin van Buuren, and Paul van Dyk gave Trance fans what they were craving.


2. Ultra needs more Drum and Bass


This year during DnB legend, Andy C‘s set at the Ultra Worldwide stage the crowd seemed to be having an amazing time. Unfortunately there were only a handful of DnB artists including Andy C and Netsky (live). Both Netsky and Andy C’s sets left fans craving more DnB.


 3. Enabling good karma with the Eco Village.
lifebeat(Image Courtesy: Lifebeat Facebook)
Dance music has always been very community oriented and it’s great that Ultra decided to have their Eco-village again this year.The Eco Village hosts several interactive booths featuring representatives from various non-profit groups dedicated to raising awareness of important issues such as ecological sustainability, partying responsibly, cancer research, and more. Some of this year’s organizations were Lifebeat, Dubstep Cures Cancer, Dance for Paralysis.


4. Emerging genre, Future House was well embraced this year.


Oliver Heldens playing the mainstage this year is a sign of things to come and we’re probably going to be hearing this sound more in the months to come. Tchami dawned his priest outfit and rocked the Ultra Worldwide stage. When this sound was emerging a lot of people labeled it at Deep house and that caused a lot of confusion and discomfort with Deep House but artists like Laidback Luke quickly stepped in and named this new sound Future House.


5. Eric Prydz is a versatile chameleon


When the ASOT stage lineup came out people were rather shocked to see Prydz on the lineup. Sure, his productions are melodic but the breakdowns and build ups are very different from a Trance track and Trance usually happens to be over 130 BPM and most of Prydz’s tracks are not that fast. However, when Prydz got up there after Andrew Bayer. It wasn’t awkward at as he played a more hypnotic and darker set than he did at the Mainstage last year. People at the stage seemed entranced with his performance and the esoteric visuals and lasers enhanced the atmosphere.


6. Fans rocked some of the craziest costumes

miami(Image Courtesy: Miami New Times)
Festivals are fun because people are free to express themselves and are less likely to be judged and that results in people dawning some funny, crazy, and outrageous costumes. Costumes of penguins, mermaids, robots, super-heroes, squirrels, priests were just some of the costumes


7. Krewella is back with a new live set.


After the Yousaf sisters had a falling out with found member Rainman it’s been a rough year for Krewella with an ongoing lawsuit. This year the Yousaf sisters were back at Ultra playing the Live Stage instead of the Mainstage. They brought a drummer and guitarist along with them and they even played some System Of A Down to switch things up. Krewella premiered a number of new tracks including one that was dedicated to former member, Rainman.


8. Too many special guests at Ultra this year.

prydzz(Image Courtesy: Twitter)


Martin Garrix brought Usher up on the mainstage to perform their new collaboration. The OWSLA stage had 2 special guests playing on Day 3. Ariana Grande managed to hop on to the Main stage for a bit. During Skrillex‘ closing set he had Diplo come up for some Jack U fun and then a wild Justin Bieber appeared. The biggest surprise was when Hip Hop mogul, Diddy showed up on the main stage to say goodbye to everyone at Ultra. However, none of these special guests made the audience as happy as Eric Prydz’s special guest. Eric brought his little daughter up on stage and held her in his arms.


9. No major changes in stage design and production
JORISVoorn at Resistance
With the exception of the Resistance stage,and Main stage all the other stages remained nearly identical to the way they were in 2014. One could have even used last year’s map to navigate around the festival because the layout of the festival was practically unchanged. Even in terms of immersive technology at the stages there was nothing very new and exciting. Not to say that this is a bad thing because why change something when it works well. Iconic stages like the Mega structure that hosted ASOT 700 and Carl Cox & Friends will are stages that people dream of dancing at after watching the live stream.


10. Simon Patterson played a set with one arm


A little before Ultra, Simon happened to dislocate his shoulder and injure it severely. Being the true hero that he is, he didn’t cancel his set at Ultra. The stage had  limited capacity and was completely packed and there was a huge line to get up to stage 7 just to watch Simon.He played some amazing hard hitting Psytrance to close stage 7.


11. The grub at Ultra was ultra delicious


You need fuel to dance all day and Ultra left food lovers spoiled for choice. With a vast number of options including Italian, Argentinian, Greek, Mexican, and American there was something to satisfy everyone. There were refreshing fresh fruit smoothies and coconut water stalls over the venue to keep people hydrated in the hot Miami weather.


12. Ultra Music Festival should never leave downtown Miami.


It’s hard not fall in love with downtown Miami‘s gorgeous skyline. It forms the perfect backdrop for a music festival. Ultra has truly found its home in Bayfront park and it would be sad if Ultra were to move away from downtown Miami.


13. Legends were loved and will be loved for ever


Dance Music legends like Paul van Dyk, Carl Cox, John Digweed, and Sasha may be more than twice as old as many of the people attending Ultra but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t connect with their audience. This year we saw a lot of younger fans flock to the stages these legends were playing at. It’s amazing to see how evergreen some of these artists are and how they continue to inspire one generation after another


14. It’s truly, A global festival

rollingstone(Image Courtesy: Rolling Stone)

This year at UMF there were over 100,000 people from more than 100 countries over the world! Hundreds of fans danced around while waving flags of their respective countries. In fact, Antarctica was probably the only continent with no representatives. Oh wait, maybe this penguin-dude was representing Antarctica. Who knows?


15.Ultra will be back earlier next year


Ultra announced dates for UMF 2016. The dates for next year are March 18,19,20. So fans who would like to attend the festival can start planning earlier. The countdown has already begun.

(All Images Courtesy: Greg Bowser/ GB Photography)