If Ultra Music Festival's flagship Miami event can be known for one thing, let it be it's diversity. Like the city that hosts it, UMF is a flashy melting pot of tropical colors, warm air, and exciting sounds.
You can walk the length of its seven stages and travel a globe of noise, each mass of lights and speakers representing it's own culture and populated by its own microcosm of dancers. One moment, you're at the live stage getting down to some funky guitar, the next you're slapped in the face with bass at the Worldwide stage, then you're whisked away by the giant waves of progressive house, and before you know it, you're deep in the underbelly of house and techno and there's a giant spider spitting fire into the sky.
It overwhelming in the best way possible. We'll try to break down some of Day 1's (March 24) best moments in 2017.
4 p.m.: Biscayne Boulevard, the main vein of downtown Miami's scenic welcome wagon, is completely taken over by ravers. Cop whistles are blaring. Horns are honking. A man on the side of the street shouts about organic fruit, only a couple bucks. It's loud just to look at the tens of thousands of smiling faces covered in kandi and stick-on gems, but even louder are the first booms of bass as Ultra Music Festival 2017 comes to sweet and glorious life.
5:36 p.m.: Ape Drums does not hesitate to commence the turn up. He's a tropical trap explosion at the UMF Radio stage, curated all day by Mad Decent. T-shirts are tossed out, booties are clappin', and sweat is becoming the populist common denominator.
6:49 p.m.: The dark reverend Tchami delivers a sermon of wompy g-house. He reads straight from the book of bump-n-grind, then he gives a passionate performance of big-room festival bass. The Main Stage is a glowing mass of curved lines, all leading inward to the French man of the hour.
7:23 p.m.: Technasia has hundreds of dancers in a trance of communal groove. The only thing that breaks the spell of spiritually woke house is the hot breath of the Resistance Stage's Arcadia Spider blasting fire and smoke onto what feels like the very skin of our backs. Even when the rain starts to come down in a mist, it only adds fuel to the burning fire in ravers' hearts.
8:17 p.m.: A man in a hand-made Buzz Lightyear costume walks by nearly naked and destroys childhoods with a single drop of butt sweat. Everyone is welcome at the funk filled KSHMR set over on the Live Stage. A desert scene has been set as a man goes in on some massive taiko drums.
8:45 p.m.: All your friends in their mid-30s are right. Drum'n'bass is totally coming back. Netsky is working his decks at the Worldwide Stage like a mad man while his MC buddy hops around and yells encouraging d'n'b affirmations into the mic. The English DJ mixes in and out of dubstep, trap, and all shades of bass, but nothing gets the people's feet moving that those old fashioned breaks.
9:30 p.m.: Alesso is the king of Ultra Festival Main Stage vibes. He thrills the crowd with his recently teased remix of The Chainsmokers' "Something Just Like This." Also, the Ultra Main Stage is equipped with fountains of shooting water. Next level.
9:52 p.m.: Life is a noir '80s wet dream as ZHU unleashes massive amounts of musical pheromones. He earns his place on the live stage, armed on either side with a shredding guitarist and a sick sax player. The sax man and the axe-handler enter a heated solo trade-off, and somebody somewhere gets pregnant.
11:12 p.m.: Major Lazer has the crowd dutty wining harder than a dutty's ever wined before. It's a monster mix of bass and dancehall. "Pon De Floor" gets a twisted edit so turnt, the girls on shoulders nearly bruk off. This will all eventually lead to some heart-pumping drops of Daddy Yankee and absolutely no fux given.
11:45 p.m.: The Arcadia Spider is turning brains into mush with its flashing lights, blasting fire, and Maceo Plex's hypnotic and energizing rhythm. No one wants any of this to end, but there is so much dancing to be had in the morning. For now, the crowd gets lost in the final moments of an unforgettable day.