When you gotta go, you got to go. That’s exactly what I did this past weekend. I’ve been planning to go to Ultra Music Festival in Miami for such a long time and lemme tell you — I’ve NEVER had so much fun in my entire life. I’ve always been an EDM fanatic since day one so going to Ultra is like the equivalent of going to Mecca. Or the Vatican! You’ve got to do the whole three days at some point in your life.
What I liked about Ultra is that it’s a huge festival in downtown Miami and it’s not located in the middle of nowhere like Coachella in Palm Springs (really not for me), EDC in Las Vegas or Creamfields in the UK or Tomorrowland in Belgium.
Most of my friends are, unfortunately, not into EDM like I am so I didn’t even bother asking any of them to come with me. I told myself a few months ago that I’m going to the festival alone no matter what. Ultra Music Festival ain’t cheap. General Admission tickets run at $499 while VIP is $1,200. Add the cost of flights, hotels and what have you. One must be an EDM fanatic to be invested into going to Ultra. I bought a VIP ticket early on but I’m truly, truly super grateful to my magic elf who gave me an all-access artist pass in the last minute. I told myself a few months ago that I’m going to the festival alone no matter what.
As you all know, I’ve been traveling nonstop the past few months. I’m always surrounded with people, I’m always going to events, I’m always working. I needed some time off away from work, away from emails, away from people I know (and know me). I was desperate for the reset button. Going to Ultra was the perfect mini vacation. While Julia Roberts’ character went to Bali, Indonesia for an “eat, pray, love” moment to find herself, I thought I’d do a little “eat, sleep, rave, repeat” moment in Miami to clear my mind.
There’s something liberating about going SOLO (as in by YOURSELF) to a music festival with almost 200,000 people from over 100 countries. With the exception of very few followers who asked me for a selfie here and there, I totally felt anonymous which is fantastic and rare in this day and age of social media. OK fine, I bumped into a number of people I know but I made sure my interaction with them lasted no more than a “hi, goodbye, see you later”. It felt therapeutic. Seriously!
I might have been alone but I certainly didn’t feel lonely. Most of my friends gave me funny looks when I told them I’m going to Ultra alone. First and foremost, I was there to see my favorite DJs — the one who I listen to religiously day in and day out, the ones whose podcasts I subscribe to, the ones whose music I buy on Beatport, the ones whose YouTube videos I play in the background while I’m working on my laptop. Second, how is it possible to feel lonely when, in spite of being solo, you’ve got a sea of humanity around you? Everyone’s happy, smiling and dancing? Talk about good vibes all around — everyone and I mean everyone regardless of their age, gender, race, sexuality or where they came from, is dancing with you?
I’ll never forget Friday — it rained and I mean it rained hard. Very hard. Especially during Afrojack and Alesso’s set. You’ll see it in one of the videos below. But rain or shine people danced. Music unites people. Everyone’s in it together. It was beautiful and magical at the same time seeing people dance hard against forces of nature.
I can’t wait for next year! Ultra Miami announced their 2016 dates (March 18, 19 and 20) which is like right before my birthday. I guess you now know where I’ll celebrate next year. By the meantime, see you again in Ultra Europe this summer fingers crossed. Croatia, here I come!