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Ultra Music Festival was surreal

| Friday, March 31, 2017

If you have never been to a large music festival of the music genre of your liking then I feel bad for you son, I’ve got 99 problems and attending a festival ain’t one. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Miami attending Ultra Music Festival, a three-day EDM (electronic dance music) festival held at the Bayfront Park. The festival offers 31 hours of continuous music across seven stages and features more than 200 artists which ends up making the festival feel like a playground for EDM fans.

Since my trip, I have been told by numerous people that they don’t peg me as an EDM fan that much, and after seeing the other festival goers, I get why. Walking into the festival, your senses are bombarded with unique sights, smells and sounds. There is a ubiquitous scent of cigarette smoke throughout the festival, one of the more tame substances that attendees are stereotypically thought to be using. Simultaneous to that smell is the sightings of outfits that would be wholly unacceptable in most other instances. It seemed as if every other guy was shirtless with the body of someone who spends 20 hours a week at the gym. As for the girls, some were walking around at the festival wearing less than the models in a Victoria’s Secret commercial. This unique congregation of people may sound intimidating but all of my experience with other attendees was nothing but pleasant. We all may come from different social backgrounds, different places of residence, and have vastly different plans for the future. But past that, we were all there together to rage to incredible music at a venue that was out of this world.

And while interacting with other festival goers was enjoyable, to be able to experience the music and light shows first hand was near euphoric. The stages ranged from the size of Stonehenge to the size of one side of Campus Crossroads (and no, that is not an exaggeration), but one thing was consistent — the sheer volume of the music as it shook you to the core. It was as if the sound waves alone were a drug that made you want to — actually forced you — to move with the beat. It was seemingly impossible to be near a stage and resist head-banging during the heavy bass of dubstep and trap songs. Meanwhile, the melodic tunes that bridged these drops seemed to inexplicably soothe you into intense happiness. To top it off, these feelings were amplified as the excitement and energy from the thousands upon thousands of surrounding patrons experienced the same thing.

As incredulous as the aural entertainment was throughout the weekend, the visuals for each set seemed to continually exceed the previous set until DJ Snake, the closing artist on the last day, had visuals so vivid that your brain couldn’t even keep up, leading to an experience that I can only describe as psychedelic. The combination of thousands of square feet of LED screens, dozens of lasers, dozens of color changing spotlights, 60-foot flame geysers and fireworks all combined to make a visual show that was bordering on sensory overload. Now, mere days after leaving, the experience seems so surreal that it almost seems hard to believe that it actually did happen. Although I have struggled a great deal to find the words that come even close to describing what the experience was like, I hope that you one day have the opportunity to attend a festival as amazing as Ultra. You will not regret it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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