To the estimated 150,000 fans who will be passing through the gates of the most anticipated dance festival in the U.S., the building anticipation for the Ultra Music Festival is sort of like that of a child’s on Christmas Eve. Starting Friday night and running through Sunday, the Ultra Music Festival will be taking Miami by storm. As crews put the finishing touches on a behemoth two-week-long build, a camera-shy Russell Faibisch, president and executive producer of UMF, was gracious enough to give MTV News a tour of the festival grounds.
“Ultra Music Festival 2011 is something that’s going to be like nothing that anyone has ever seen before, on any level,” Faibisch said. “The production we’re doing is gonna be unlike any other festival. The caliber of lineup we’re talking about is second to none. Everybody’s gonna walk away here trying to figure out what just happened!”
The now three-day event will again be held in downtown Miami’s Bicentennial Park, which for this year will be arranged slightly differently than in years past due to a construction project that’s going on in its traditional footprint.
“While we lost one corner to construction, we cleared out a lot of space on the other side of the park that wasn’t usable before,” Faibisch said. “When you add it all up, it about evens out, and the layout is actually much more functional for us this year.”
Said shuffle has given birth to the insanely impressive Carl Cox and Friends arena, which will be home base for the man of the same name on Friday and Saturday. The arena will then be handed over to Dutch trance legend Armin Van Buuren, who will be broadcasting his “A State of Trance 500” show live via satellite to a worldwide audience estimated at 20 million.
“We’re really proud of this thing. We brought it out from California — we’ve never had it out here in Florida before,” Faibisch said of the arena, which boasts two floors and an estimated capacity of over 10,000 all on its own. “We have VIPs on the second level inside, and the production that’s going on there is really going to be out of this world.”
Adjacent to the mega-arena, several high-tech “domes” garnish the grounds, including the Tower of Ultra, which will play host exclusively to dubstep artists on Saturday and Sunday, all to a visual 3-D display that is sure to make Skrillex blush during his live set.
But the granddaddy of them all is, of course, the Ultra Main Stage, and with this year’s immense superstructure graced by the presence of Tiësto, David Guetta, Afrojack and Kaskade, among others, the centerpiece of the festival is shaping up to be one of the most impressive to date.
“It is a monster,” Faibisch said of the festival’s central core. “It’s about the same height as it was last year, but it’s definitely wider, and the whole thing is just going to be covered in LED screens,” not to mention the signature plumes of pyro and CO2 that make the Ultra Music Festival truly a sight to behold.
Oh, and just a word to the wise if you’re planning on getting close to the stage: Earplugs are strongly suggested — this sound system is designed to blow you away!
Who are you looking forward to seeing most at Miami Music Week’s biggest event? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow our MTV News Crew (@AdamMTVNews and @ASBhansali) for all of the action!