What you need to know from day one of Ultra Music Festival 2015Ultra DAY I 002

What you need to know from day one of Ultra Music Festival 2015

What you need to know from Day One of Ultra Music Festival 2015

With Miami Music Week in full swing, the days leading up to Ultra Music Festival’s 17th edition were filled with nothing but anticipation for the three-day affair. With its unrelenting roster of talent, phenomenal production and thousands of international dance music revelers, it’s undeniable that the springtime show is the staple outline for the beginning of this year’s festival season as well as the next 12 months of electronic music. This weekend’s occurrences – whether it be a surprise appearance on Ultra’s Main Stage or a jaw-dropping musical statement as per Avicii in 2013 – are moments that will resonate within the dance music community until 2016. Straight from Miami, here are the top five takeaway moments from day one of Ultra Music Festival 2015.

Photos courtesy of Ultra Music Festival and Rukes.

When it rains, it pours

Though Ultra Music Festival opened its doors for day one of the weekend to a breezy, but typically sunny day, the weather took a rapid turn for the worse. Unexpected and altogether unprecedented, Miami received several waves of heavy rain from an incoming thunderstorm. Despite elaborate production set ups and a bursting new Main Stage display, the festival seemed largely unprepared to handle the pour and were forced to hold tarps and garbage bags to protect DJ set ups. Festival goers ran to take cover anywhere they could find or embrace being completely soaked from head to toe, and the Live stage was shut down entirely just prior to ODESZA’s 8 PM slot. At the height of the shower, five of the festival’s seven stages were closed down. To many a raver’s relief, the storm began to wane towards the end of the evening and is expected to clear for the rest of the weekend.

Photo courtesy of aLIVE Coverage.

Adam Beyer goes back to back with Ida Engberg

While the weather diminished the magical Ultra Music Festival vibe elsewhere, it did much to enhance the experience of Adam Beyer’s back-to-back set with long time partner-in-crime Ida Engberg. The two furiously played a hard hitting set while sharing the decks mid-day at the Carl Cox Arena in the Mega Structure, and as the rain began deep into the two-hour experience, onlookers stayed dry thanks to the stage’s tent format. While fans from various stages ran for cover and joined the musical journey provided by the Drumcode legend and Engberg thanks to their undeniable chemistry, water broke through the tent’s ceiling, leading to what can only be described as an indoor drizzle in the tent. Words fail to capture the magic and emotion of the moment, which was only enhanced by the mishap-turned-visual attraction.

Avicii debuts 'Stories'

A highly anticipated Avicii set hardly comes as a surprise, but this time around it was different; this year’s Miami Music Week marks one year from when Avicii first disappeared from the spotlight in order to refocus on his health, and the two year mark from his wildly experimental set in 2013 with he debut of his True album. After playing through a number of greatest hits, the Swedish superstar dropped the music and the lights to reveal one word across every screen: Stories. The moment serves as the nearest thing to a future album title confirmation one could find, as the artist continued through his set dropping exclusively new tracks that have long been teased as new album songs, including “City Lights” and a fresh Chris Martin collaboration. The crowd reacted wonderfully to the electro-tuned tracks, bringing fans back to the harder hitting days of the Avicii brand.

Carl Cox & Friends celebrates 11 years

There is a reason why Carl Cox holds not one, but two headlining slots at his self-titled stage, Carl Cox & Friends. Now celebrating its 11th year as a platform at Ultra, Cox’s audibly intelligent lineup featured the likes of Jon Rundell, Hot Since 82, Adam Beyer vs Ida Engberg, and Marco Carola. In holding down the fort as one of the few remaining stages still running following a vicious downpour, the British DJ and producer sent house and techno zealots into a whirlwind of foot-thumping beats. Where Carl Cox & Friends stood tallest throughout the entirety of day one was in its architecture, permitting both sound and soul to permeate the tent and leaving festival attendees to fend for themselves.

Tiësto debuts the new and gives an ode to the old

Returning to his time-honored slot as day one’s Main Stage closer, Tiësto graced the stage facing an absolutely packed crowd. With the rain finally at a halt, the prolific DJ brought not only an energy that only Tiësto can, but also a quick debut of new music and a slew of familiar friends to the stage. Young Martin Garrix was the first to join just before Tiësto premiered his newest remix with MOTi for Major Lazer’s “Lean On.” It was a welcomed surprise when the Dutch maestro then turned to a nostalgic dip into trance for the last half of his closing set with tracks like “Adagio for Strings” and “Footprints,” leaving every fan satisfied and calling for more.


Photo courtesy of Rukes.

Bonus: The Resistance stage receives a stellar debut with Maceo Plex

There’s no denying that the hype surrounding the Resistance stage was through the roof going into Ultra Music Festival’s 17th year. The underground’s finest gravitated to the festival’s newest feature that was located on the outskirts of the grounds, and the most adventurous attendees took to the plunge from the Main Stage into a more intimate, subterranean setting. Amongst the lineup of talent, Maceo Plex truly lived up to his spot as the final act of the night. The Barcelona-based maestro maintained a steady beat throughout his hour time slot, and mixed a tasteful assembly of house and techno tracks including “Naked” by Kai Anschau, “Rave” by Sam Paganini, and a final capstone to the night, “Sordid Affair” by Röyksopp, remixed by none other than Maceo Plex himself. With two days left of Ultra 2015, the Resistance Stage has only just begun its legendary debut and is set to host Get Real, Pete Tong, The Martinez Brothers, and Jamie Jones to continue the stage’s trail blazing momentum.

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