Ultra is ecstasy

Pulsing beats could be heard from Brickell Avenue even before rave culture kids and techno die-hards reached the gates of Bayfront Park, amping adrenaline. Ultra, North America’s largest music festival devoted entirely to techno, enveloped the Bayside area last Saturday with 10 stages of pure electronic beats and self-mixed grooves from renowned DJs.

Gates opened at 11 a.m. and the event continued until midnight; the 10 stages divided into the amphitheatre, the sound stage, the future sound of breaks, and other areas, showcased the sounds of Pete Tong, Hybrid, Carl Cox, Tiesto and headliner Moby.

Attracting a wide crowd, the sea of bodies comprised of extremist ravers, South Beach club-goers, ecstasy addicts and seemingly normal techno lovers. All swaying to the beat of the music, some chose to relax on blown-up air mattresses on the lawn, others chose to writhe and jump wave their hands with strangers and friends.

As for the artists, there were over 50 acts, spanning levels of experience, levels of fame and differences of style. As a main attraction of the festival, Paul Oakenfold, Junkie XL, Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk played at the amphitheatre, just as the stun was beginning to set.

Sunlight dimming and special effects lights going wild, Paul Oakenfold took the stage at 6:00 and played for over an hour and a half, switching from slow to fast beats, keeping the crowd energetic. At 7:30 Junkie XL took the stage and aside from his showcase of music, the video background played on gigantic screens was nothing short of a trippy, mystery flick. The wild eyes of the writhing body of the woman in the video kept many people in the crowd transfixed.

All the same, while some were tripping on acid or experiencing the music through ecstasy, headliner Moby put on an excellent show. Switching from electric guitar to vocals to bongo drums, Moby displayed his versatility and talent as an artist. Playing his hits, such as “Southside” sans Stefani and even debuting some new tracks from his new release Hotel, Moby wooed the crowd with just a few notes.

An utterly incredible and unique experience, Ultra is an event that no Miami resident should miss. Whether a die-hard techno fan or just a music lover in general, the beats are general enough that anyone can get into the feel and “move ‘ya body.” Even so, the crowd, the music, the ridiculous nature of watching people on drugs? Well, that’s entertainment.

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.