We've gone over the main beginners' tips to navigating Ultra Music Festival, the sprawling dance music festival that takes place this weekend, March 16 through 18, and next weekend, March 22 through 24. We've also gone over the top live acts to see there, too, since not all of the festival is just one repetitive beat.
But there's more -- Ultra is a homegrown affair, and as such, organizers have always invited homegrown talent to share the shine. Local live acts and DJs will appear throughout both weekends, and it's worth checking them out to show your Miami pride. Here are a few top picks to look for if you're attending the festival.
This duo's got a little bit of a leg-up on the competition: It's the only act signed to Do IT Music, a label started by one of Ultra's co-founders. Nevertheless, this male-female electro-pop whirlwind is one of the few local acts up to the task of commanding Ultra's main stage. Expect costumes, audience participation, unexpected jams, and dance beats that range from nostalgic freestyle to pounding tech-house.
First Sunday on the Eco Village stage and second Saturday on the live stage
This collective performs as two slightly different, but equally influential, incarnations. When the so-called Florida breaks scene was at its peak in the late '90s, these guys were kings. Breakbeat as a commercially viable genre has waned, but they're still keeping it real with pure electro rhythms and, uh, trippy synth flourishes.
As Spacemen, first Friday on the Eco Village Stage, and as Trip Theory second Friday on the Eco Village Stage
Remember that flap last year when Madonna took the Ultra stage and asked if anyone had seen "Molly?" She later claimed it was just a reference to a song by this Frenchman and longtime Miami transplant. Once a resident at Club Space, he's ascended the ranks to full-on, pop-EDM titan.
Second Saturday on the Main Stage
This young twentysomething is Miami's latest, best weird-rap creation, with a musical output that bridges an old-school mentality with new-school, Tumblr-y touches. SpaceGhost's music is unabashedly menacing and narcotized, full of creepy samples and hazy filters. He's also the head of a global crew he's dubbed Raider Klan, so fans can expect the local affiliates to likely show up onstage for a glimpse of the next names to watch.
First Sunday on the Live Stage
Miami-bred Daze is hardly ever in town any more, and good for him. This vintage synth-lover and diehard obscure record collector has become a globe-trotting sensation, headlining massive clubs from L.A. to London to Ibiza and beyond. What sets Daze apart is a true music-lover's knowledge of obscure and vintage styles, which he wisely updates into big-room, peak-hour versions.
Second Sunday on the Bayfront Stage
When DJ battles reached their peak popularity around the turn of the millennium, Miami-raised Craze ruled the roost. His cutting and scratching skills took him to international championships multiple times, and he stood out for always experimenting with genres. Long retired from battling, Craze still proves himself one of the most versatile, music-digging DJs around. You can always expect a party-rocking set that showcases the latest sounds to know, mixed, of course, with excellent technical skill.
Second Saturday on the UMF Radio Stage