Ultra Music Festival: Reinventing RESISTANCE and Special Guests [Review]

ultra music festival 2023 has come and gone and done it in spectacular fashion. The decades-old household name of EDM festivals has always sounded like the New Year of the music festival circuit. Its biggest fame is that it’s where most of the producers and DJs in the scene present a plethora of unreleased content that everyone ends up hearing all year round. And this year didn’t disappoint with some key and contributing factors including offbeat special guests, the inclusion of more diverse genres in the EDM pantheon, and the revolution of one of the festival’s underground destinations: Resistance.

Ultra’s special guests have always been part of the Ultra Music Festival mystique. Years past have included iconic moments from Madonna, Kodak Black, Slash and even Will Smith. However, this year’s special guests felt more in tune with newer music and artists than in previous years. These included artists who felt most appropriate for a Miami release while others felt so disbursed in the best way. In the first category, Marshmallow headlined the main stage with its own combination of bass music rage and nostalgic encores (see Benny Benassi’s satisfaction against Party Favor’s WAWA [Lights Out Jersey Remix]). But out of nowhere, he is joined by one unexpected performer after another. Marshmello cemented the Ultra Music Festival as the only place to spend spring break well with GloRilla And Roddy Rich playing their greatest hits. But everyone present can agree that the energy peaked that night when farruko came on stage to perform “Pepas” in front of thousands of ravers. The collab they previewed together right after might have helped keep that energy going for a bit longer.

In the second category, Zedd got out Ice Cream Spice… Yeah, let that sink in for a second. Interestingly enough, it was quite a clever, albeit outward, appearance. The rapper came out to sing her song “No Clarity” just as Zedd teased one of her greatest tracks of all time “Clarity.” Although the two artists feel like they come from completely different times and backgrounds, they were perfectly suited to unite each other’s audiences into one crowd. But I’m sure that didn’t stop fans watching the livestream to say “What the…” Meanwhile, David Guetta had a similar moment bringing out Coi Leraybut at least Guetta has a remix of Leray’s song “Players” just released to tie the two artists together.

Another aspect that made this year’s UMF so special was the inclusion of newer performing artists from genres that don’t typically see much love in Miami history. Generally, despite being the place to listen to some of the latest music of the year, Ultra’s history shows a lot of favoritism towards house music. But this year, the stages were shared with artists from more musical movements within the EDM landscape.

First and foremost, the biggest surprise was Charlotte White at the main stage. It may have been earlier in the day, and it may have been a shorter set than most people are used to hearing from an artist of his caliber. But the fact that a TECHNO artist performed on the MAIN STAGE of a MAJOR MUSIC FESTIVAL is almost unheard of. But Ultra took a chance, and the set couldn’t have been more perfect for pulling Miami out of its comfort zone. Meanwhile, the world stage welcomed the rising star of drum n’ bass Dimension who blew fans away with his repertoire of 2-beat grooves and anthemic cuts. It was also a great year to see stars of bass music in general at the Ultra Music Festival in Subtronics bass wonderland Little Texas and its rage-induced happy-hardcore utopia.

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Finally, the most important thing to talk about was the major upgrade of the RESISTANCE. For those who don’t know, Resistance is the name of one of the biggest brands that can take over a stage at the Ultra Music Festival. When in charge, they tout top artists playing house, techno, and in the past he’s hosted A State of Trance (this year hosted by the Worldwide Stage). Resistance usually takes refuge in the megastructure, but most people know it as the home of one of the biggest names in the dance music space: Carl Cox. His annual presence at the Megastructure is a constant in life and death and taxes. But artists who share this stage have the opportunity to see one of the most ambitious and daunting sights an artist can have before them. Look yourself!

Leading to legend, dazzling sets of Enrico Sangiuliano, Hilaire AlicanteAnd Anfisa Letgayo. But the immaculate support didn’t stop there. The buzz continues to circulate around the sets of Tale of us, Maceo Plex b2b Michael Bibi, Adam Beyer b2b Wax Dand let’s not forget the Pilot test b2b THREAD to resume. For Friday viewers, they may have spotted a legendary Swede closing the stage with his must-have HOLO set. The one and only Eric Pridz returned to UMF with a new set of stunning visuals mingled with their progressive house prowess. Even with my best calligraphy, words fail to describe how encapsulating it was to be in that tent.

But for those looking for a more intimate sense of techno and house music that trades in the glitz and glamor for pure sonic escapism, there was another RESISTANCE stage called The Cove. In previous years, the Cove was known as Arcadia where it boasted its depth-defying Spider Stage, where DJs soared above the crowd for a 360° experience rarely offered at music festivals. . But when Arcadia and Ultra went their separate ways, it gave festival organizers a chance to see how much they could expand Cove. And this year, they delivered. It started with each day supported by different labels. Friday, Nicole MoudaberThe IN THE MOOD collective reigned supreme. From Juliet Fox have daylight hours to Ida Engberg And Maya Jane Coles simply mesmerizing the Friday crowd. But if you weren’t there for Moudaber b2b with frequent partners in crime Chris LiebingI can only describe it as an audio paradise.

Saturday’s lineup moved in a more progressive and deep house direction with George Voorn featuring SPECTRUM at the helm and supporting The spirit against And Franky Wa. Meanwhile on Sunday all campers were out with the Dirtybird accommodation. Label Pattern Sets Claude VonStroke and its horde of tech house players like VNSSA, Walker and RoyceAnd Shiba San even the behind-the-scenes teams struggled.

In short, Ultra Music Festival 2023 kicked off the new year for the music festival landscape and did it in typical, yet iconic fashion. Special guests turned heads, more artists from less explored subgenres were able to share the spotlight, and RESISTANCE is taking a proactive approach to being more than just an annual destination at the show. All of this makes me wonder… how long I should book my next flight and stay in Miami for 2024.

Photo credits: Alive Coverage, Rukes, Rudgr.com

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