MIAMI — To say that UMF founders Adam Russakoff and Russell Faibisch and their Ultra Music Festival team have another mammoth dance music get-together on their hands is certainly stating the obvious. This weekend, UMF comes home to Bayfront Park in Miami for the first time since 2005. And the number of attendees walking through the three-day electronic dance music festival, one of America’s biggest, has swelled from 150,000 last year to a sold-out 200,000 this year. The lineup is exquisite, as usual — literally an act for every taste.
MTV News learned firsthand just how UMF has tried to build on the sophisticated spectacle they have come to deliver each year when executive producer and founder Faibisch took us on an exclusive tour of the UMF grounds, as crews raced to complete the construction of its eight stages.
“We call it the ‘Ultra Mega-Structure,’ ” Faibisch beamed while introducing us to his Mid-Park Arena, an edifice that resembles an airplane hangar (for the world’s largest airplane) in scale. The arena has LED screens along the ceiling and above and behind its DJ booth and stage. The structure’s trusses are filled with lighting and LED strips that extend “all along the dancefloor, coming back through the DJ booth and onto the stage,” Faibisch explained.
Whatever they intend to reflect onto these surfaces will no doubt make sets by Carl Cox, Sven Väth, ATB, Gareth Emery, Sander van Doorn , Dash Berlin and Armin van Buuren, to name a few, all the more magical.
Our next stop struck more of an emotional chord for Faibisch. Klipsch Amphitheater, where UMF screened its brand-new film “Can You Feel It?” for 7,000 fans Wednesday night, marks the festival’s return to Bayfront Park, as things coming full circle.
“The live stage is going to be insane,” Faibisch continued. “DJ Shadow is playing. M83. Bassnectar is playing. Pretty Lights, New Order, Kraftwerk, Miike Snow. The last time Ultra was in this amphitheater, Paul van Dyk closed it. The last Ultra [here was] in 2005, and now we are bringing it back to life. So really exciting.”
Of course, it’s hard not to get excited over a bold move. As MTV News first revealed when interviewing UMF visuals designer Vello Virkhaus , earlier this week: Ultra Main Stage will have an LED roof.
And certainly, this new technical development will perfectly complement the dazzling display of talent set to take the Ultra Main Stage.
“What’s going to be really exciting are the artists that are going to bring it to life,” Faibisch said. “Skrillex , Afrojack and Tiësto to close things on Friday. Saturday, Avicii is going to be closing the Main Stage. First time he’s ever closed the Ultra Main Stage. Before him, Justice live.”
“Fatboy Slim: This will be his first-ever Main Stage performance at Ultra in the 14 years we’ve been doing it. And then Sunday, Armin van Buuren, he’s going to be closing the Main Stage. We have Kaskade playing. And then, of course, David Guetta has a really special show lined up for us.”
“All weekend, its going to be nonstop,” Faibisch said. “Artist after artist, really bringing something special.”
Miami Music Week, MTV News is on the way! Check back all week as we report from EDM’s biggest parties, bringing the latest news from your favorite electronic dance music stars!