The city of Miami is located along the Atlantic coastline in south Eastern Florida. Its strategic positioning has allowed it to harbor many entertainment venues including museums, theatres, performing arts venues and parks. It hosts many visitors who go to experience the conventions, beaches, festivals and other tourism events (Association 1965). A lot of partying, dancing, sand bathing and drinking characterize summer in Miami. Many people spend their summer breaks there because of the warm weather and the fun involved on the beach and in partying. This attracts many performers and artists invited by organizers of ballets, parties and other performed arts.
Many traditions have arisen due to the need to satisfy all the partygoers who spend their summer time on the beach. One of such a tradition is the Miami Ultra Music Festival, which takes place at the end of the winter season. Miami is famous for the freestyle dance music, which became popular in the 80s through to the 90s. It is an electro, disco and hip-hop beat accompanied by freestyle dancing and punk rock metal band performances.
The Ultra Music Festival is an electronic music festival conducted outdoors. Electronic music is a combination of electronic musical instruments and electronic musical production. It incorporates computers, sound synthesizers, electric guitars, telharmonium, Theremin, Hammond organ and other electromechanical instruments. It forms a part of the mainstream of popular culture in the world, especially in the United States. The modern experience in music has introduced more color in music distribution, organization, stretching, mixing, randomizing, projection, performance, and composition of music electronically (Emmerson 2007).
Electronic music is a combination of many music genres that put emphasis on the unique sounds of the instruments used. It originated from the popular nightclub culture. It sometimes uses music that is not for dancing but shares the attributes of dance music.
The annual event occurs in March in the city of Miami. Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes founded the event in the year 1999. It started as a one-day event to mark the end of winter at the Winter Music Conference. The first performance was by DJ Baby Anne and Rabbit in the moon in the event held in South Beach Florida. The event recurred in March 2000 as a one-day event and recorded more success than the previous year.
By the year 2007, the annual event had attracted large masses hence conversion into a two-day event. It broke the records of the most people to attend a single the year 2007 where over 50 000 people attended the festival. Over time, the festival has gained vast popularity as the festival sold out in the year 2011. The concert that hosted over 100,000 people took three days in March 2011 from Friday the 25 to Sunday the 27.
The festival started with pure Electronic dance Music. It has grown to evolve into a massive bass characterized with enormous stages and DJ booths that provide different genres of music throughout the three days. This creates an outlet for the new, talented artists to emerge as there are many local artistes trying to make a name for their talent. The producers use the latest technology to enhance sound and lighting systems. It involves the most innovative productions and performers worldwide.
This year's festival was the biggest attendance with over 100, 000 revelers. All tickets sold out, and the venue packed to the fullest. The electronic music fans filled the Bicentennial Park that was the venue for the revelers. Three days of nonstop music performances and dancing distributed over numerous stages was the experience at the festival.
Attractive headlines with the names and posters of famous musicians, producers and DJs took the attention of the masses that were streaming into Miami to experience the festival. Diversity in music genres and artists ranging from solo performers, to bands and DJs attracted masses of party fans. Artists including Tiesto, Erasure and Carl Cox made the highlights on Friday, which was the first day. As the festival continued, bigger names including DJs David Guetta, Cosmic Gate, Will .I .Am and the chemical brothers drove the crowd wild as they introduced the latest music and technologies. The Hip Hop artistes including Kanye Wes and P Diddy and many others were also significant crowd pullers at the scene. There were 200 acts across seven stages of on stop music and dancing.
As time progresses, the festival improves the appearance by use of bigger stages, bolder lights and technologically enhanced music. The lights exaggerate the crowd and the music they flash bright ad bold colored rays that spur movement creating a hyperactive atmosphere. The revelers also bring their toys ranging from blow up dolls, neon lights, funk costumes, glow in the dark clothes and sunglasses and light sticks.
There is a wide variety of music performances in the three days over the numerous stages. Live bands, dancers and dance music, DJ mixes and music festivals are the highlights of the three days of the electro- extravaganza. There were numerous stages with fans dancing to different genres including techno, drum and basses, house, trance, electro, indie rock, break beat, alternative, minimal, big beat, jamtronica dance rock, and more. The wide variety of talent, celebrity musicians and super DJs keep the crowds streaming in, as there is always entertainment through all the days of the festival.
The 2011 three day festival was the most grand of them all with a collection of bands , artistes, DJs and the best producers who kept the show running nonstop for the whole period. The stage opened by the live stage with a toned down Fedde Le grand. Following the building crowds was Carl Cox and friends. A tent with the DJs playing Chicago house with Detroit Techno was the highlight of the day. The Holy Ghost Live stage broadened the line up as live talent displayed with a live drummer and guitarist. The Main stage worked the audience into a hyperactive dance stream as Benny Benassi took the stage. The night continued with, Trentemoller, Pendulum, CSS, Royksopp , Duran Duran Tietso and Erasure as they took on the live stage.
Goldie opened Saturday with the Tower of Ultra, with the main stage having Afrojack, simian mobile disco, Telekinetic Walrus and Kaskade taking the main stage. Afrobeta, Cut copy, Underworld and Deadmau5 continued to entertain the masses and the concert blew up with many dancers catching up with beats from all the stages.
The opening of the last day was done by the super star Will .I. Am joined by Steve Aoki, Beardyman, The Glitch Mob and the Super Mash Bros on the Tower of Ultra. Skrillex and the Crystal castles were on the main stage with the Chemical brothers among many others who performed in the different stages. The music kept building up until the last day and the fans went home exhausted and satisfied.
All these celebrity artistes are in the lineup for the festival because in the modern times, the superior the lineup, the more chances of success for the organizers (Ernst 2005). This has created a culture of relating music concerts to competitive lifestyles related to the respective towns from which they hail. The Ultra Music festival has put Miami on the map for music revolutions that are now dominating the charts.
There is an element of the festival called the Eco Village and the Ultra Green. It is a presentation of the ultra concern for life and peace. An influential non-profit-making organization has taken the opportunity of the gatherings to unite people in the planet protection movement by setting up the eco village. Combinations of more than 20 groups involved with charity work create awareness for their cause.
The festival has people who participate in the dance for life, Green Peace, Life beat, animal Rights Foundation of Florida and Red Cross working with Rescue Earth and Environment foundation in Florida. They have contributed to the awareness campaigns with more than 45 artists playing the Eco Sound Stage. This helps the ultra crew to participate in peace promotion and greening efforts in the festival.
Aside from the entertainment from the music, the fans keep themselves active by indulging in other activities. In the Root Society dome, an ice throwing battle broke out forcing security to restrain some people. Numerous revelers also take part in beach activities as they take short breaks from the dancing and loud music. Others have led to the emergence of the concerts after parties and the environment of the festival attracts a holiday mood with binge drinking therefore, a lot of restriction is necessary to keep order in the arena.
The festival changes the mood of the city as many revelers stream into town. Too many people park in the neighborhood causing a crisis and the traffic is unmanageable. The parking fee also goes up because of the competition. There is Food prices go up as well as accommodation fees. There is scarcity of water too as many of them buy water in bulk to prevent dehydration from all the dancing. This makes the prices of basic needs such as food and toiletries to go up.
There has been numerous complains of fans over indulging in drug use during the festivals (Mike Evans 2009). The music is themed with a carefree attitude that leads to drug use and influence. With the numbers increasing, it becomes difficult for the security officers to control the crowds despite the frisking at the security check done at the entrance. Cases of underage drinking, overdosing and unruly behavior due to drug influence are often the highlights of the sidelines. Dehydration and exhaustion from dancing a long time in the sun also causes fatigue in most fans therefore, there is evidence of water demand during the festivals.
The festival has attracted worldwide interests with the current venues being Miami, New York Ibiza, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. There are rumors of underway expansion to Asia. It has attracted many fans worldwide as some watch live streams from the web from other parts of the world. There are plans to shoot two festival movies due to the rapid spread of the festivals popularity.
In conclusion, the festival has played a key role in making the electronic music popular due to the increasing fan base of the concerts. It is also making the city of Miami develop a culture of hosting masses of revelers around the festival time thus creating tourism opportunities that improve the economic state for the locals. The themes of summer breaks are also adapting to the music festival as many fans spend more time enjoying the music than the traditional sunbathing, water sports and beach parties. The recurrence of the festival has contributed to the rise of the tradition that is spreading to the rest of the world with cultural effects towards prioritizing music during summer breaks and vacations.