BPM 2013: Blogs Per Minute covers Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference in Miami
Covering the festival, the pool parties and everything in between
SUNDAY, MARCH 24
Swedish House Mafia's Final Performance Closes Ultra
Ultra Music Festival’s final day ended on a massive note with Swedish House Mafia’s last show ever, and the excitement was in the air even before their final performance began. Although DJ Alesso’s set at the main stage, which came immediately before Swedish House Mafia’s, was well attended, crowds from other parts of the festival began to form toward the end of his set and in the 30-minute break before the SHM performance. By the 9:30 p.m. set time, the area was completely packed with attendees rubbing against each other and unable to move. The 90-minute set covered all bases for Swedish House Mafia fans; the Miami crowd rapped along to the lyrics of "Miami 2 Ibiza" and swooned over their rendition of "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall." The main stage set-up was especially dazzling, with custom videos for their songs and pyrotechnics like flamethrowers and fireworks lighting up the night. A particularly unique moment came when the band asked the entire crowd to sit down and jump back up at command, which the crowd obediently did. John Martin, singer of two of SHM’s biggest hits, joined the band on stage to sing live. SHM member Axwell reiterated his appreciation for the trio's adoring fans and compared the experience of working as a member of the band to going to school -- and that Sunday's final performance was their graduation. He would later ask the crowd to “save the world” with him, which would send them off into their final song, “Save the World,” to which the crowd sang along and at times teared up. As the members left the stage, text on the screen thanked the fans for the journey they provided as they festival closed.
- Ricardo Mor
SATURDAY, MARCH 23
Diplo Rules The Rooftop
Over at the rooftop of the Gale Hotel, chaos reigned supreme for the Chicken N' Beer pool party hosted by Bed Head hair products and headlined by DJ Diplo and his Major Lazer crew. Throngs of people tried to make their way into the door without luck, being told the venue was at capacity. Those who were lucky enough to get in hung out poolside as DJs like Jillionaire, Washly Fire and GTA played. Despite hanging out at Gramps in Wynwood earlier in the day and the incredible traffic between mainland Miami and the beach, Diplo managed to arrive on time and hung out with fans before playing a furious set that worked the crowd into a frenzy. Adoring fans were within inches of Diplo and the crowd was pushed extremely close together. Diplo was told several times to lower the volume by hotel staff but would have none of it; as a result, the party was shut down by the city of Miami Beach after 40 minutes for being too loud. Many in the crowd said it was an incredible experience for the lucky few who got to experience it.
- Ricardo Mor
Hitting Critical Mass During Miami Music Week
Miami Music Week hit critical mass Saturday afternoon, with throngs of people clogging up the streets and looking to party. Those who arrived arrived mid-afternoon hoping to get inside an event were out of luck, with many shutout by the fire marshall.
Early in the afternoon, a select few were fortunate enough to attend the Toolroom Records yacht party hosted by MOX, which featured DJ Mark Knight and star of HBO’s the Wire Idris Elba spinning sets as the crowd soaked up the sun on the boat deck.
The Bed Head Hotel party was one of the day’s most exciting events, with the crowd hanging out on the roof of the Gale hotel. Although some took advantage of the free hair styling provided by Bed Head, most everyone came for Diplo’s set, which drove the crowd insane.
One event that didn’t shut out people was an afternoon party at Baoli, which had attendees pouring Perrier Jouet champagne over each other and walking out soaked. Daniel and Derek Koch of E!’s Playing with Fire were among those attending.
The Never Say Never pool party at Hyde Beach was raging most of the day but hit its peak when headliner Sasha hit the stage at 9 p.m.. He played an amazing set that included one of his latest remixes of Hot Chip’s Flutes that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The set was scheduled to end at 10 p.m. but Sasha continued his set for an additional half hour, which pleased many. However, it was an early night for Hyde Beach, which was closed by 4 a.m.
FDR at the Delano’s headliner Carl Craig came on at a relatively early 1 a.m., but his set was among the best of the week. The early master of Detroit techno played a set that was more subtle than other Miami Music Week acts but very special for the few who made their way inside.
LIV's door was tight: Even those who were on the list for Axwell of Swedish House Mafia’s set were given the go-around, with staff claiming the list was closed by 2 a.m. and saying patrons should have arrived earlier.
Late into the evening, Rec Room kept the crowd pumped with hip-hop beats as a very well-curated crowd huddled in the basement of the Gale.
- Ricardo Mor
FRIDAY, MARCH 23
Moto Music Lounge Closes with a Bang
On the third and final day of the Moto Music Lounge, legendary DJ Armin Van Buuren headlined the outdoor party that left attendees wet because of their refusal to miss out on the prolific DJ's set. Other star DJs like Kaskade, Avicii and Steve Aoki made their way through the VIP lounge to receive swag like SOL Republic headphones and Motorola phones.
Although Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia is one of the most popular DJ acts in the world, the secret MySpace party featuring him headlining was sparsely attended. Set in the courtyard of the Miami Art Museum and Miami-Dade Main Public Library, the space could have easily held thousands of attendees but would end up with only a few hundred attendees at best. Aside from this, the sets were nothing short of great.
German label Tiger Records hosted a party at Haven, which featured acts that were more funky than other Miami Music Week parties. Despite the party starting at 6 p.m., the crowd reached its peak at 11 p.m. when a swarm of guests came through the door and danced up a storm.
A more discerning crowd made their way to the New World Symphony, for Pulse 2.0, an event that combined both classical music and DJ sets. Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan was among the attendees who listened to music from both Mozart as well as veteran local DJ Sean Drake.
Rec Room hosted a very cool night, with a mostly industry crowd coming to seek refuge from the mayhem of Miami Music Week inside the Gale Hotel’s basement. Headliner Maseo of De La Soul was behind the DJ booth spinning a set of old-school hip hop.
Rounding off the evening was a party at Wall at the W hotel, with DJs Alesso and Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia. The club was possibly overcapacity and crowded beyond belief, with some partiers sitting on the shoulders of people to get a view of the DJs. Attendees who paid several thousand for table service were drinking straight from liquor bottles and pounding their fists in the air.
- Ricardo Mor
THURSDAY, MARCH 21
The Stars Come Out During the Day and Night
While many Miami Music Week events have gone on without a hitch, Dirtybird Players at Villa 221 hit a snag early in the day when it was unfortunately put on hold due to permitting issues. Many attendees waiting on the lawn in front of the outdoor stage for the party outside to begin. The outdoor stage was finally allowed to commence later in the day.
At the Moto Music Lounge at the W presented by SiriusXM, partiers enjoyed Corzo and 42 Below cocktails as they hung out on the hotel lawn. The biggest highlight of the event was a blockbuster set with DJs Afrojack and Calvin Harris sharing the stage for the first time. DJ Ferry Corsten, who opened the party and is busy promoting his collaboration with Markus Schulz called New World Punx, had advice for young DJs.
“Try to be original and if you go flat on your face, take it like a man and try something else after that,” Corsten said.
Next door at the Setai, Ultra Records hosted a swanky party in the hotel’s courtyard featuring their artists. Veteran DJs Steve Aoki and Benny Benassi and newly signed acts like Jimmy Carris spun sets as VIPs were treated to an exclusive tasting of Pampelonne’s Rose Lime sparkling wine.
At SLS, the evening started with the Hold On event hosted by Covergirl & Elektro magazine. Nervo, who are covergirls themselves, tore up the stage as party revelers hung out poolside at the swanky Philippe Starck-designed pool area. VIPs were treated to free manicures and mascara by Covergirl. Just after 11 pm, the party moved indoors to Hyde Beach where Elektro magazine hosted their official 3-year anniversary party. The highlight of the evening was Laidback Luke sharing the stage with his wife DJ Gina Turner as revelers waved flashing batons. Elektro publisher Zev Norotsky, who hung out tableside with staff and friends as they enjoyed spectacular DJ sets, said Miami Music Week is an important event for the magazine.
“Elektro magazine looks forward to Miami Music Week every spring as a celebration of all things electronic dance music related and more importantly as benchmark of our anniversary and tremendous growth over the last few years,” said Norotsky.
Across the street at the Delano hotel, FDR hosted what may have been the most exclusive event of the night, with partiers trying to fight their way into the club without much success. Strict capacity issues even temporarily prevented talent like Nervo from entering the club. Those who were lucky enough to end up inside the event witnessed an event to be discussed for years. The night belonged to master DJ Nicky Romero and ultra-secret special guest superstar DJ David Guetta, who shared the stage and turned out an epic set that lasted well into the night.
Rounding off the night, the Red Bull Guest House at the Dream hotel hosted a breakfast party with DFA records that began well past 3 am and continued until 7 am. Despite the late starting time, the event was packed with scenesters dancing.
- Ricardo Mor
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20
Tiesto Celebrates Anniversary of Club Life Radio
On the first day of the Moto Music Lounge at the W hotel, Sirius/XM celebrated the first anniversary of DJ Tiesto’s Club Life radio channel with the man himself. Tiesto said that his channel has been a wonderful opportunity for him to showcase his talents.
“I think the response on the radio show has been amazing and everyone’s really happy with the quality of the show and I get more and more DJs to do guest appearances. It’s been a great first year,” Tiesto said.
Tiesto headlined the star-studded lineup of DJs that also included Dyro, Showtek, Alvaro and Quintino, which streamed live to Sirius/XM stations Electric Area and BPM. Dyro, who opened the line-up, said Miami Music Week provides him ways to connect with other people in the electronic music scene.
“It’s awesome to have a place once a year where everyone can meet in this business because you’re talking all year all over e-mail and you’re not meeting them in person, so this is like the perfect opportunity to meet everyone you’re working with.”
The VIP lounge saw many surprise appearances by many prolific DJs, including Sasha and Felix Da Housecat, who were keen on the SOL Republic headphones being gifted to talent.
Around Miami Beach…
Haven hosted the launch of the Safe Haven Artists Lounge, which featured acts like Nathan E. Drake, the duo Prok + Fitch and Miami local Patrick M. Partiers enjoyed Absolut cocktails as they were mesmerized by the video projection screens that line the walls. Headlining the night, DJ David Penn riled up the crowd with a set that did not deter from Haven’s ultra-cool loungy atmosphere.
At the Shore Club’s Red Room, a select few were treated to the sounds of DJs like Return 2 Chicago and Arthur Baker. Felix Da Housecat, whose set began well past 2 a.m., hung out at a private table with his posse while also engaging with his adoring fans, who all found him incredibly friendly. Calvin Harris stopped by the club to support his friend Tommie Sunshine, who also played a set that impressed the crowd.
- Ricardo Mor
TUESDAY, MARCH 19
LOVELY SPOT FOR BRUNCH
LDV Hospitality, who manages the newly renovated Gale hotel’s Dolce Italian restaurant and the nightspot Rec Room, hosted Love Brunch, the first of three daily parties to be set on the Gale’s rooftop. A British import, the event featured acts like Ellen Allien and Pillow Talk spinning tunes as a fashionable crowd enjoyed samples of Absolut Tune and brunched on Jamaican barbecue. Despite a largely overcast day, the clouds parted just in time for the rooftop crowd to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
For those seeking to discover new talent, partygoers headed to the National Hotel for the Elektro Freshman ‘13 Pool Party. Up-and-coming acts like DJs Julian Jordan, Carnage and 16-year-old Cole Plante won the poolside crowd over with their talent at the turntables. They and veteran DJs like Afrojack made appearances at the VIP lounge, where they were interviewed by Elektro magazine writers and enjoyed swag provided by iHome and SOL Republic among other sponsors.
Those looking for more established acts headed over to the Delano Beach Club, which hosted the This is Our Day pool party. The festivities began at 4 p.m. but ran well into the night. DJs like Sander Kleinenberg, Hot Since 82 and NSFW spun sets on a stage with the Delano’s iconic pool in the background. The mood was distinctly cool, with beats that kept the crowd dancing without overwhelming attendees. VIPs lit up the night with their extravagant purchases of high-end champagne decorated with sparklers that were delivered to their private cabanas.
- Ricardo Mor
MONDAY, MARCH 18
The Party Keeps Going, Rain or Shine
Highbar at the Dream Hotel (1111 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) started the party early with its Day Dreamin’ party hosted by Frisko Music and Supperclub. Although poor weather would disrupt most outdoor events, that was not the case at Highbar, where many of the attendees partied to their hearts' content poolside despite the drizzle. Fans came for headliner Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, who played an amazing set in the afternoon, but stayed for acts like Marques Wyatt and Stonebridge.
- Ricardo Mor
Avicii Hotel Hosts a Sirius Party
At the Avicii pop-up hotel, Sirius/XM subscribers were sheltered from the elements by the newly renovated digs at the Marlin. Sirius/XM radio jockeys Kramer, Liquid Todd and Gina Turner hosted live feeds of radio stations BPM and Electric Area via satellite from the lobby. DJs like Cazzette and Syn Cole spun. Singer Kerli hung out with other partiers wearing a fur coat, platform sneakers and not much else.
- Ricardo Mor
Taking a Break at the Shaker
Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel offered a break from the EDM (electronic dance music) that many locals have been overwhelmed with, hosting a too-cool-for-school hip-hop party that featured music from old-school favorites like Flavor Flav and new-school hits from artists like Q-Tip. Bartenders Nick Van Tiel and Walid Hamid poured Avion tequila and Beefeater gin cocktails named after hip-hop favorites like Gin & Juice, Fo Swizzle My Nizzle and the Nothin’ But A G Thang.
- Ricardo Mor
THE AVICII HOTEL - IMAGES BY TOMAS LOEWY
SUNDAY, MARCH 17
Cruising Through The Sunday Pool Parties
The Delano Beach Club brought a slice of Ibiza’s infamous party scene to Miami, hosting the Blue Marlin Ibiza party on Sunday. Blue Marlin Ibiza is one of the party city’s most iconic clubs, and Sunday’s party hosted included some of the club’s most popular acts. DJs Jesse Rose and Sean Miller played by the pool with the volume turned all the way up as dancers pumped their fists in the air. Later in the evening, a fire dancer lit up the night with her flaming fans.
Over at the Shore Club Sunday afternoon, the scene was festive for their Winter Music Conference and St. Patrick’sDay-themed version of their regular Shore Thing Sundays party. Attendees danced to tunes by DJ Laserdisk Party Sex, who played many old school hip-hop favorites. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the hotel handed out green-colored glasses and invited an Irish bagpipe player to showcase traditional Irish songs. Olympic Gold medalist Ryan Lochte made a surprise appearance at the hotel, where he was filming for his new reality show on the E! channel. Lochte enjoyed Ciroc vodka and flirted with bikini-clad girls in the pool as the cameras were rolling.
The Standard hotel took a low-key approach for Winter Music Conference with their Sunset Sessions party. Guests lounged by the pool and soaked up sun while they listened to chill sounds provided by local DJ Danny Stern. The mood was undoubtedly cool but did not sacrifice the Standard’s health spa atmosphere; the volume-level was uncharacteristically low for a WMC event, a welcome surprise for party-goers who needed a break from the deafening beats around Miami.
- Ricardo Mor
SCENES FROM DAY 3 of ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL / PHOTOS BY TOMAS LOWEY
SATURDAY, MARCH 16
Delano and FDR host WMC launch parties
The official Winter Music Conference launch event took over the Delano's pool side at 4 p.m., with DJs like Starkillers and Moguai entertaining a small crowd of select partiers. But it wasn't until late when the real party started downstairs at FDR, jammed with an extraordinary crowd of passionate party-goers. The small but swanky space was flooded with blue lights bouncing off the mirrored walls as names from Pretty Lights music label like DJ Paul Basic conquered the DJ booth. DJ Michael Menert head-banged wildly in the booth as his set caused a dance fury among the partiers; the heavy bass shook the walls and rattled our eardrums in ways that would embarrass other large venues. The party hit its peak when not-so-secret special guest Pretty Lights took the stage at 2:30 a.m. and conquered the space. While many DJs hinge their popularity on remixes of familiar hits, Pretty Lights refused to pander, hosted a furious set and still had everyone dancing the night away.
- Ricardo Mor
Surfcomber opens pool party madness
Over at the Surfcomber's All Gone Pete Tong party, the typical attendee is clearly there for one mission alone: to party. Many of the half-naked partiers sipped on Hierbas Ibernicas cocktails and Flor de Cana mojito pitchers with purpose, hoping to enjoy every drop they can while they dance to beats supplied by DJs like Dirty South, whose hit "City of Dreams" with Alesso sent the crowd into a frenzy. The stage is set up around the Surfcomber's pool area, with a large main stage with projection screens of the DJ flanking the fake beach and pool and partiers rubbing against each other fighting for every inch of dance space.
The scantily clad girls and chiseled guys took particular notice of DJ Cedric Gervais and his pair of female dancers, stomping their feet with passion. The party transitioned from afternoon to night with no signs of stopping as the sounds of DJ Tom Staar's take on the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" created the soundtrack for the sunset.
- Ricardo Mor
Heineken House raises the bar
Colin Westcott-Pitt, Heineken’s VP of Marketing, knows how much of a pain buying booze at a music festival can be. Heineken has been the premier beer sponsor for Ultra Musical for 6 years; it’s a natural fit for the Dutch brand, as more than 30 DJs playing at Ultra hail from Holland.
However, Heineken wanted to make this necessary process of buying beer for thirsty Ultra attendees as exciting as possible in celebration of Ultra’s 15th year.
“You know that moment where you’re that guy who’s told to go buy beer and you have to wait in line and it’s not a great experience? Well, we wanted to really flip that on its head and make it a really good experience for people,” Westcott-Pitt says.
The result is Heineken House, a large-scale installation where Ultra attendees can purchase Heineken beer in a unique way. Attendees will enter the tent featuring LED lights, fog machines and air-conditioning, creating an Ultra-like atmosphere for Heineken drinkers. The installation will also feature iPad stations where they can submit a beer order and projection screens featuring live feeds of the current acts playing, meaning concertgoers won’t miss a beat.
If you can’t make it to the Heineken House at Ultra Music Festival, Miamians can get in on the fun with the new Heineken Ultra Remix app (out now in the iTunes and Google Play stores) and with the Heineken "Star" bottles, which hit the Miami market in the coming weeks.
- Ricardo Mor
FRIDAY, MARCH 15
Scenes from Ultra Music Festival's Opening Day - Photos by Tomas Loewy
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