MIAMI — Ultra Music Festival hit every note — delivering a spectacular splash into this weekend's EDM takeover of Miami's Bayfront Park. Massive crowds, including fans of all ages and from every part of the world, amassed to make for a remarkable opening show.
The main stage for Ultra's day one Friday included an all-star list of talent including Afrojack, Skrillex and Tiësto, who all delivered spectacular visual elements and new music and exploited Ultra's new tricks to take the crowd — and perhaps EDM in the United States — to new heights for 2012.
Future EDM hall-of-famer Tiësto closed the night with a thunderous roar from the crowd and a sensational fireworks show that smacked an exclamation mark on the opening day. He previewed a number of new tracks from his upcoming album, Club Life: Volume 2 -Miami, including his fired-up remix of Coldplay's "Paradise" and the still-unreleased "Chasing Summers" and fittingly closed his set with "Maximal Crazy," perfectly capturing the energy of the crowd.
Leading into his set was MTV's #1 EDM Artist of 2011, Skrillex, who maximized the potential of Ultra's main stage, specifically the giant LED screens that echoed the futuristic sounds of his set. Especially stunning were the images of animated dancing robots that matched every bass-crunching riff of Skrill's signature sound.
Afrojack brought along a new friend, experienced hype man Lil Jon, who jumped along the top of the DJ booth for most of the set and fired up the crowd, professing his love for EDM and Miami along the way. Afrojack also brought along some new music, but laced his set with a collection of his fan favorites, starting his show with "Bangduck" and integrating "Take Over Control" and "Pon de Floor."
The festival's eight stages brought many highlights, even from the smallest stages. The Bao Dome, which looked like half an exoskeleton of Disney World's Epcot Ball, jammed with Spencer & Hill, Swanky Tunes and many other talented artists.
At the Carl Cox & Friends tent, Richie Hawtin incited hundreds of party-goers who couldn't fit inside the tent to dance in groups along Biscayne Boulevard, which was closed to vehicles during the festival.
With lofty goals for Ultra in the wake of EDM's huge collective progress in 2011, organizers and artists appeared particularly inspired to blow away new fans and loyalists alike.
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