The 16th edition of Ultra Music Festival in Miami was definitely one for the books.

The festival took place at Bayfront Park in Miami spanning 3 days from 28-30 March 2014. It is truly a beautiful setting with the bay in the background and the tall, gorgeous buildings of downtown Miami towering over the festival in the foreground.The festival boasted of  7 stages including a massive vortex themed main stage that was nearly six stories high. There was also the mega structure tent that hosted the 650th Edition of ‘A State of Trance’ and Carl Cox & Friends 10 year anniversary special. Another big stage was the arc shaped worldwide stage. Amongst the smaller stages were the grassy underground stage, the UMF radio stage, and the bumpin’ 7UP sponsored stage. The Bayfront park amphitheater was transformed into UMF’s beautiful live stage.


Day 1

Arguably known as the king of Drum and Bass, Andy C played a powerful Drum and Bass set early on the first day. It was a perfect welcome to the worldwide stage that was sandwiched between the main stage and the mega structure (Carl Cox & ASOT tent). Andy C was absolutely relentless behind the decks as he rocked the crowd with the fastest set at Ultra as he hovered around the 170 BPM zone. After Andy C, Datsik took over and threw down a dirty Dubstep set that flirted with Trap, Drumstep and everything in between. He closed with a Biggie Smalls and RJD2 mash up that had the crowd reminiscing.


We spent a large chunk of our time at the Carl Cox throughout the festival.  The thing we love most about the Megastructure is that everyone is always vibrating on the same wavelength. No overbearing crowds, no jumping up and down on top of one another; just a sea of bodies bouncing and vibin’ in sync as one entity to the thumping basslines of the greatest artists amongst the Tech House/Techno world. On the first day, Maceo Plex, Luciano, and Marco Carola got everyone’s blood flowing and provided great progression into the night.


The Megastructure is truly a sight to see with moving LED panels (aka the “Honeycombs”) that move up and down the entire height of the tent, and relentless lasers that can be spotted across the entire festival. There were also wonderful aerial acts flying high above the decks, twisting and turning with grace and flexibility.

The mainstage was awesome this year complete with CO2 tanks, pyrotechnics, and other extravagant production.  We kicked off our mainstage adventures with Zedd’s performance.  With his tracks receiving a lot of airplay on the radio, the 24 year old Russian- German musician, Zedd has become a mainstream success.  Zedd’s tunes provide a warm welcome to the world of Electronic Music. Zedd seemed to have a great time playing on the main stage as the crowd cheered him on and sang along to the tracks he played. He showed Miami and the world why he bagged the prestigious Grammy award for the ‘Best Dance Recording’.

Next up was one of our all-time favorites: Eric Prydz. His set was completely unique and pretty much revolutionary. He was sandwiched between Zedd and Kaskade who both delivered amazing but straightforward main stage festival sets.  Prydz managed to come in and completely switch up the pace but still delivered in a mind blowing way; definitely a main stage game changer.

eric prydz hologram
The visuals were futuristic and intricate and accompanied the set perfectly. I just wish that the hyped holographic technology would have functioned properly during his set. Prydz once again proved why he is one of the most respected musicians in the industry. He was followed by Kaskade whose set was filled with tons of special edits and amazing mashups. After that set it was totally understandable why Kaskade had managed to find a special place in the hearts of the crowd and win the ‘Best American DJ award’.

A couple of people and ourselves were debating who to end with on day one.  We had never seen Tiesto because honestly, unless it was the old school Tiesto, I was rather uninterested. We decided to give it a shot nonetheless.  We walked over to the main stage and immediately turned right around once we heard pop music projecting in the distance.  We made a quick decision to hurry to Gesafflestein to close out the night instead.  This was probably one of the best decisions of the entire festival. Gessaflestein, chain smoking cigs and all, cast a dark spell on the crowd with his incredibly unique, raw, and dark Techno style.  Everyone was going crazy when suddenly the music cut out. Gesafflestein checked the decks to make sure it wasn’t an error on his part.  We then all discovered that Ultra cut the sound out purposely, leaving the crowd high and dry for a proper finale but still 100% satisfied with his set.


Day 2

We decided to start the day at Carl Cox’s tent. The legendary Pete Tong was already working his magic behind the decks as he played an honest and soulful set. After Pete it was the Slovenian techno monster, Umek, who played the grooviest set of the festival. You couldn’t help but move your feet as Umek’s music possessed . Infected Mushroom’s live set was flawless; you have to be there to truly understand how talented they are as musicians. From Erez’s beautiful, powerful voice to Amit’s unparalleled, impressive skills on the keyboard, we were all in awe and highly entertained.  Although their sound has changed over the years, they played their older tracks without the slightest hesitation. They had the crowd head-banging as they closed their set with their classic track, ‘Becoming Insane’.

Infected Mushroom Live

Chicago’s very own Krewella decided not to stick to a single genre; they played a plethora of genres including Electro, Trap, Hardstyle and Dubstep.  The beautiful sisters, Jahaan and Yasmine seemed to be having the time of their lives as they danced and got crazy on the main stage.

The 16th edition of UMF was one that was truly special for the mighty Carl Cox who was celebrating a 10 year anniversary in his very own tent. Cox was scheduled to play three sets at UMF, where he played two amazing closing sets. However, Carl Cox’s b2b set with his close friend Nic Fanciulli was our favorite set out of the three. Carl Cox’s energy on stage is simply awe inspiring.  You can’t help but love the guy and admire his strong passion for dance music, his fans, and fellow DJ counterparts.


Head honcho of Sci + Tech records, and one-half of the legendary Deep Dish, Dubfire played an intricate and driving Techno set in the Mega structure.

Towards the end of the night, it was time for the one and only Above & Beyond.  A&B can easily invoke many feelings among the crowd with their their emotional sets. Sadly, their performance was interrupted by the rain where they were forced to finish outside the line of sight of the whole crowd, which definitely took away from the usual vibe and intimacy of an A&B set.

Above & Beyond - web - stamp

Finally it was time for the king of Trance, Armin Van Buuren, to take his throne on the mainstage, AVB proved once again why he is the face of Trance.  You can tell when he spins that he is so in love with the music, in turn infecting everyone around him and turning them into Trance lovers as well. Although not many people come to the main stage to hear Trance, you can bet that Armin is going to make a fan out of every single person he is playing for with his energizing and emotional set and stage presence.  This is why he is hands down one of our favorites, and all-time greats in our world of Electronic Music.

Armin Van 2 - WEB - STAMP

Hands-down, Deadmau5 stole the night with a truly unique set. The lord of trolls played a very *ahem* “special” remix of Martin Garrix’s big room anthem – Animals (He mixed it with the nursery rhyme Old Macdonald, what everyone is now calling ‘Old McGarrix’ ). Trolling aside, his oddly crafted set did come with its fair share of euphoric moments, especially when he dropped tracks like ‘The Veldt’ and his remix of ‘Longest Road’. It was also amazing to see him bring the mainstage into the dark side with a bunch of Techno.  We could tell that some of the crowd was confused by his set as groups of people were constantly leaving the stage.  Love him or hate him, the man behind the mau5head lives life on his own terms and we absolutely love him for it.




Day 3

On day 3 we kicked off with TJR who is a huge favorite of ours. It’s refreshing to see someone put on such a fun set while still being extremely technical and highly skilled on the decks.  We enjoyed getting energized with a good dose of the Melbourne Bounce.

All day in the megastructure Armin was celebrating his 650th edition of A State of Trance, which we kicked off with Cosmic Gate.  You cannot argue that Cosmic Gate is a huge fan favorite among Trance and even non-Trance lovers alike.  Their stage presence is inviting and always makes you feel right at home.  We got pretty emotional when they dropped ‘Be Your Sound’… the whole crowd was passionately belting out the lyrics with their hands in the air.

Aly & Fila b2b John O’Callaghan was one of the top five sets of the festival for us.  Those two together on the decks are an absolute force to be reckoned with.  They came out and immediately got down to business, blasting the crowd with a beautiful mix of Uplifting Trance and progressive Psytrance.  Twice during the set Fadi got up on the decks and made the entire crowd crouch down during the breakdown, and encouraged us to jump up all together.  The set had an epic ending with everyone crouched and then jumping to one of Aly & Fila’s biggest tracks ‘We Control the Sunlight’.


There are very few adjectives that properly describe the epic, awe-inspiring, unbelievable, Pure Trance set that Gaia spun.  (Gaia is Armin’s alias which also includes Benno from Rank 1.)  Armin and Benno sported hooded black cloaks for the entire set, never once showing their faces to the crowd. They stood almost completely still the entire time as well, aside from the occasional praying motion they made with their hands as well as holding their arms out to the side like a cross.


There were no frills; no ‘in your face’ production… Just the purist Trance set imaginable, accompanied by angelic visuals; both which completely stopped time in its place and casted a spell on the entire crowd.   We were incredibly lucky and thankful to have experienced a major piece of history in the world of Trance music.


(On the third night, the number one nightclub in the world, Space Ibiza, took over UMF’s underground stage with a lineup that consisted of Dusky, the legendary John Digweed and closing the stage was Eric Prydz’s alias Cirez D. We remember losing ourselves more times than once with the amazing music at this stage.)

After 1 ½ hypnotizing hours with Gaia, it was time to end the festival with a rager of a set with Subfocus.  They had their Vortex setup which you couldn’t help but get lost in at times.  A fellow raver launched a huge inflatable T-Rex into the crowd during the set; it was a hilarious site to see it bouncing around the entire crowd to some Drum n Bass.  One of the highlights of the set was when they dropped one of their most prominent remixes “Coming Home”. The crowd was belting the lyrics with so much passion and enthusiasm; an emotional and empowering way to end the festival for one of us.

Hardwell had the responsibility of closing this year’s Main stage at Ultra. His set began with a specially prepared intro after which he electrified the crowd shooting banger after banger. The crowd could not get enough of him. An awesome display of fireworks accompanied his performance as millions of fans from all over the world watched him unleash sonic bombs on Bayfront Park, Miami.



We hope that everything works out for next year’s Ultra.  Miami officials have been expressing their distaste for the festival’s return, especially after a security guard was trampled by kids bombarding the fences to sneak into the festival on the first night to the weekend.

Overall, it was incredible being able to witness so much high-level talent in one place, often more than one time throughout the weekend.  Not going to lie, going into it came with a bit skepticism because of people’s experiences at last year’s Ultra  (how over-packed it was and about the crowd’s actions.  Each stage, except the mainstage of course, had plenty of dancing room.  We did not have much trouble transporting from one area of the festival to the other, which we owe to the festival not selling out this year like it did for last year’s two-weekend edition.  The people we met were amongst some of the most passionate and musically-knowledgeable people we have ever come in contact with at a festival.

We were glad we were able to attend and formulate our own opinions about the festival and will be forever grateful for this eye-opening, spiritual, and life-changing experience; it was truly one of a kind!



Written by  Karan Parikh and Alexa Ahrem