If you’re heading to Miami this week, the wait is almost unbearable. If you’re not, then the FOMO is strong. Either way, it’s finally time for one of the biggest events of the year, Miami Music Week. This year it seems that Ultra Music Festival’s lineup has gotten even bigger that before, resulting in a bunch of fresh faces and can’t miss acts. Though it was difficult, our staff picked our top acts you must see at Ultra this year.
I mean, it’s Skrillex. Yes, the buzz is currently around his side project Jack Ü, but let’s not forget: the man is a prolific DJ by himself too. As someone who is one of the greatest tastemakers of our generation, he truly is one of those DJs who never plays the same set twice. Our biggest concern is how many IDs will be left in his wake this year, as he’s always the first to expose us to the next big remix or even artist. Skrillex will close out the festival this year, an honor bestowed upon Swedish House Mafia and Hardwell the past two years. Photo by Georgia Modi
Though he’s been in dance music for almost a decade, Andrew Bayer’s Ultra debut will be on the ASOT stage before Eric Prydz. Not to be mistaken with techno wizard Adam Beyer, Andrew is known for his releases on both Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep, and will be the only artist from either label playing at the festival this year. His style ranges from beautiful and progressive to dark and ambient, so half the draw is never knowing what to expect from his sets. However, with his Do Androids Dream EP in stores next month, we can expect his latest single “Super Human” ft. Asbjørn as well as a few familiar Anjuna tunes from close friends Above & Beyond to make the cut.
You have to be living under a rock to not know that Porter’s Worlds album was the most talked about piece of music in 2014. The accompanying tour captivated fans so much that Porter decided to bring his tour to festivals this summer, starting with Ultra. Those who saw him last year will be delighted to know that some of his visuals and most of the overall experience will return. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the tour, or you were so enthralled that you just want to relive that moment once more, then you better be at the live stage on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Roho Foto
We’re really captivated by a lot of the acts on the live stage this year, especially the newcomers and ones who rarely play “live.” Kygo has proven time and time again that he is proficient at the piano, but we’re curious to see what other live instruments will join him. We wouldn’t be upset if a steel drum band made its way into his performance, or any other tropical elements that help go into his track that became Ultra’s anthem this year. Photo by N.Stephens
After health concerns caused him to miss his appearance (resulting in Deadmau5 of all people to step up and troll everyone), as well as cancel his performances throughout the year, Avicii is back and ready for a fresh start. His Ultra debut in 2013 was widely talked about for not being “dancey” enough and featuring a band headed by Brandon Boyd from Incubus. Now, with an actual live stage, it seems like Avicii’s 2013 set would have a better place in this year’s lineup, but judging by his time slot he’ll be sticking to a traditional set. Still, it will be interesting to see what he’ll bring to the table with his new album Stories on the horizon, especially since it boasts collabs with Jon Bon Jovi and Chris Martin from Coldplay. Photo by Rukes
Milo & Otis
There are a lot more trap DJs this year, a much welcomed change, especially with people like Party Favor and these guys on the lineup. DJ Nymz and Killagraham will be making their debut on the OWSLA stage Sunday afternoon after Valentino Khan, when the festival is at its peak rowdiness. While the entire lineup for that stage will be a hit, it’s Milo & Otis who edge out this amazing pack of DJs for us. Their ability to mash up styles, like going from Motown oldies to a fast trap drop in their latest track “Trap Arms” will keep attendees talking about this set for a while.
It seems that taking two massive stars and creating a supergroup seems to be all the rage these days. Trance has New World Punx, Big Room has Axwell Λ Ingrosso, there’s also those Jack Ü dudes, and now house music has its newest dynamic duo. Get Real is the brainchild of Green Velvet and Claude Vonstroke. They broke onto the scene right at the end of last year, playing a string of shows between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the US, but the idea started like all great collabs with an impromptu b2b set in Miami of all places. It’s fitting that their first festival would be Ultra, closing out the highly anticipated Resistance stage on Saturday Night.