Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ultra Music Festival

On the heels of so many wonderful winter events, another one of Miami’s mega events is on the horizon. It is one with one foot in fashion, a head relentlessly bobbing up and down, ears shattering, and hands scratching turntables. If you hope to attend, it’s already way too late and has been for ages. It’s a ticket much harder to get than the recent Heat/Knicks Jeremy Lin coming of age party or the Marlins opening day extravaganza. It may have been easier to get a seat to see President Obama at UM a few moments ago. It is also likely that anyone older than 40 might get reverse carded. It is the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park downtown, and it has a kind of unreasonable cachet among our sons and daughters that is nonpareil when it comes to making their lives memorable.

As the Food and Wine Festival is to foodies, the Miami Film Festival is to those who dream of Hollywood (the western not the Franch-Canadian one nearby), and the BCS is to Cane football fans, that’s how strong the Ultra magnet is for the electronic music set. For cultural anthropologists like me, just going downtown to feel the vibe at the gate is an education. I’ve never been inside, and likely never will, but the lineup is as stunning as can be. Plainly put, it is Art Basel for those who like their eardrums shattered.

Over the last few year’s, everyone who is anyone has played Ultra. Ask anyone: “Who’s playing at Ultra?” Answer: “Everyone.”

Electronica is the umbrella term; some sub-genres are House, Dubstep, and Drum n’ Bass. Big names include Armin Van Buren, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Skrillex, Afrojack, and Kaskade. If you don’t know these names and have kids, you’d better take the lock off their door.

There are numerous stages and tents, all necessary because there are something like 150 deejays as well as the occasional live music. That boom, boom, boom, you hear that weekend won’t stop till midnight Sunday night. If you are downtown, you’ll hear it. Further away will depend on the wind.

The show begins Friday March 23rd, and from that afternoon on, there will be a solid parade of neo-Woodstockian tie-dyed headbands, neon swimsuits, furry boots, and animated, glow in the dark animation shirts. Really -- the fashion show is worth the People Mover ride from Government Center. If you have a ticket, a sophisticated rectangular hologram which allows for one and only one scanning, you will be able to join in. But if you want to see it and hear it peripherally, simply go check it out.

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