Starting today, thousands of electronic dance music aficionados will take over Bayfront Park in downtown Miami for the Ultra Music Festival. If you happen to find yourself in the middle of that scene, you'd hear a lot of German, French, British English, a panoply of European voices.
Many of the festival attendees are from Europe, even though Europe's got a big electronic music scene itself. There's Sonar in Spain, Creamfields in England and Tomorrowland in Belgium: all three are big-name festivals. Then there's the Spanish island of Ibiza, the Mecca of electronic dance music, where big name DJs make regular rounds. So why do many Europeans make the long and costly journey to the Magic City?
Adam Thwaits from Manchester, England spent more than $2,500 dollars for his Ultra experience. He says, what makes Ultra special is something many South Floridians take for granted: "The weather. Full stop. You're guaranteed sun over here. Loads of people go to Ibiza. [But] it's not quite the same; it's like the halfway grounds. It's a whole different experience [here]."
Ignacio Manjon from Valencia, Spain spent $1,400 on his flight and hotel. That's not including the more than $400 for a 3-day pass for the festival. For Manjon, it's about going to a festival right in the middle of a city, "Where if you go to Ibiza, it’s really nice because it’s a party but it's at night...in a club. In Europe, there are also festivals, but [they're] in the outskirts...not in the downtown, not in a city, not where you have the skyline [like here in Miami]."
For the next three days, Europeans and others from around the world will be stomping and fist-pumping their way to EDM glory. If you live within a mile radius of Bayfront park, bring earbuds.