Downtown Miami shook from the bass emanating from Bicentennial Park from the most anticipated music festival in Miami: Ultra Music Festival 2010. The 12th annual closing festival to the Winter Music Conference lasted two days (March 26 and 27), and drew in a record setting crowd this year, having been the first Ultra in history to completely sell out.
The best names from all areas of electronic music, including trance, drum and bass, house and electro played on various stages over the course of the two day festival. Even some artists not typically associated with electronic music were performing live at the event. Passion Pit, Nas, and Damian Marley performed at the event alongside some of the biggest names in the electronic music scene. Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas also debuted as a house DJ at Ultra, mixing his set in with some Black Eyed Peas songs but still delivering a surprisingly solid set.
The festival kicked off on Friday afternoon, with the stand out performances coming from Dirty South and David Guetta. Guetta had a surprise guest when Steve Aoki came out and jumped on stage and into the crowd while he performed. Guetta played his hits including "When Love Takes Over" and his remix for "I've Got a Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. Aoki was seen all over Ultra, beginning with his own set on Saturday afternoon and later on at Bloody Beetroots. With Bloody Beetroots, Aoki performed their song "Warp." At one point, Aoki popped a bottle of champagne to spray all over the crowd before diving off the stage to crowd surf.
Friday night was closed out by Tiesto, for the second year in a row. The Carl Cox tent was also closed out by Cox himself, on both Friday and Saturday night. Saturday afternoon had the longest list of performances, including an electric performance by Benny Benassi. Benassi played his newest hits, but as soon as the familiar beginnings of "Satisfaction" began to play, the entire crowd went into a collective frenzy, finishing the majority of the lyrics. Benassi played with so much energy, at times pausing to jump onto the tables and fling his T-shirt and vest into the crowd.
The all-around most surprising performance came from Swedish House Mafia, the biggest trio on the scene right now. Their set included some of the best visual effects, specifically during the remix of Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition." The screens on the main stage displayed the key lyrics from the song, allowing the entire crowd to sing along.
The most anticipated performance was the performer closing out Ultra on Saturday night. Fans showed their appreciation for this artist in a variety of ways, letting everyone know exactly who they came to see. Homemade mouse heads, mouse ears, and even a mouse head shaved into the hair of some men only built the hype for none other than deadmau5. The mau5 delivered on the hype, even with a glitch at the beginning of his set. He threw in his most popular songs, including "Ghosts n Stuff," but also had some surprises up his sleeve. Switching into his newer dubstep, deadmau5 switched it from his usual electro route and experimented with the new sound. The most surprising element of his performance came in the form of a cameo by Tommy Lee, who played drums during some of the set. The mau5 ended his performance with "Strobe," with the last bit being replaced by his trademark "Super Mario Brothers" sound from the game.
At Ultra, a truly different side of Miami presents itself. The club dresses and Ed Hardy shirts are replaced with furry boots and giant mouse heads. Candy ravers, hipsters, and even a man dressed up in an Elmo suit, danced alongside people from all over the world. Each tent, each stage, and each dome was full of people jumping and dancing around with their hands up, completely immersed in the music. For one weekend, Miami united itself - with the help of some bass, and some lights.
Ultra Music Festival was not just a festival but an experience shared by some 100,000 people. The two days were jam packed with amazing performances by the top names in the electronic music industry, as well as some other mega stars in the music industry. Each year, Ultra Music Festival is one of the most anticipated events in the city of Miami. Although Ultra fans have to wait an entire year for the festival to come back, their patience will be rewarded. Next year, it is three days long!