ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL, MIAMI, FL. MARCH 23-25TH, 2012

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It’s been a week since ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL wrapped up its 14th year, 3 day weekend celebration of electronica music. Attendance was estimated at 160,000 from around the world!!! What an INCREDIBLE event! If I can only stop with the exclamation points!!

How I came to attend UMF was that much more of a blessing for me to actually capture this event. After having no luck in getting a press pass and running out of creative ideas to get in while at the event,  I ran into Shannon (who I hadn’t seen in 5 years). A L.A nightclub friend who was with her friends (Shane & Kimmie) trying to secure backstage passes. With them knowing how important it was for me to document and attend this event they managed to fanagle a means for me to attend the entire weekend!! I couldn’t believe it! Once I got in we all gave each other a massive group hug!! Hence the start of a wonderful non-stop weekend, of which I didn’t think I would make it for a 3rd night.

I captured over 1000 unedited images (not really a lot when you think about it) to cut down to a few 100. Easy to do when you’re shooting in such extreme lighting conditions.. neon, concert lighting, shadows/highlights, and PLENTY of dancing, etc..  I ended up having to stop shooting at times so I could enjoy the festival. The line- up this year showcased over 100 DJ’s and live performers. Too many to list, but at least I’ll let the photos and my thoughts fill in some of the blanks. DAY ONE: New Order, who I last saw at Coachella 2005. This was a treat as I was able to easily move to the front of the stage to see them. It wasn’t a packed crowd which made photographing and watching them a greater pleasure! A nostalgic show with more of a “best of'” setlist. Excellent energy and fun to catch Bernard Sumner dancing about on stage. He even stated “Miami, I think we have made a connection!” Of course we all felt it back! After jumping/dancing around various DJ tents.. the best for me was Richie Hawtin and Carl Cox (UK) both performing at the “Carl Cox and Friends” stage. Caught about 15 minutes of SKRILLEX. He’s really showing his talents in a big way and really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this young man! From Skrillex I changed music speeds and closed the night with Kraftwerk who I last saw on their “Computer World” tour MANY, MANY years ago. I was curious about their stage set after seeing a few video snips of past tours. A minimal stage presence which made for more focus on the music. Good move in adding Kraftwerk to this year’s bill. They pretty much have created electronic music as we’ve all seen it evolve into different facets A memorable way to end my first evening at ULTRA.

The following 2 nights were more of DJ sets including AVICII (no, I didn’t see Madonna!), Justice, Armin Van Buuren and Bassnectar!! The ones I really missed DJ Shadow and John Digweed! A bit hard to put into words how all the different DJ’s “performed”. Remember these are people on stage mixing music with visuals surrounding them. It’s going to be exciting to anyone who loves the electronica culture. There was something for everyone at this event.. house, deep house, techno, acid house techno, trance, dub step, etc.. I can’t even keep track of all the electronica tags out there… I leave you with a series of images of the who’s and what’s I experienced at ULTRA. I’m including an experimental UMF video medley that I quickly edited. A good test for the new iPhone’s 1080p video. A few hiccups but it was fun pulling this piece together. Happy ULTRA 2012 to those who ended and to the ones who are curious what it’s all about, I say go for it one time!  Oh, and lets leave the girl and the tree in the past.

To the wonderful people I photographed,  please contact me so I can send your portrait. If it wasn’t for you and the masses of  people the energy of this event would have been less than a fizzle for me!! Thank you everyone! and please feel free to share this with others..   ~A~

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