RAD Review: Miami Music Week 2019

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Miami Music Week: One of the world’s most recognised electronic music events

Each year towards the end of March, the city of Miami is transformed into every dance music lover’s paradise. 2019 marked the 9thannual edition of the weeklong marathon event, with round the clock parties and events; before the grand finale at Ultra Music Festival.

MIAMI MUSIC WEEK EVENTS

This year’s Miami Music Week events welcomed back popular annual shows at all of Miami’s favourite locations. Home to the famous LIV and STORY night clubs, south beach hosted the majority of Miami Music Week’s events at the world-class venues, as well as at a number of beach clubs and hotels. Over in downtown Miami, visitors flocked to the famous 24-hour nightclub E11even for non-stop entertainment. The vibrant art district of Wynwood also hosted popular events at a range of warehouse style and outdoor venues such as the RC Cola Plant.

ABOVE & BEYOND: MIAMI 2019

Perhaps one of the most anticipated events was Above & Beyond’s annual showcase at the RC Cola Plant. Headlined by the group themselves, the event also featured special guest Seven Lions, as well as performances from Ben Böhmer, Oliver Smith Spencer Brown and Qrion. Above & Beyond undoubtedly stole the show with previews of new music from their upcoming Common Ground Companion EP, before Seven Lions closed out the evening.

Photo credit: Rukes

OPHELIA RECORDS SHOWCASE

The party continued well into the early hours of Friday morning at the Ophelia Records Showcase, hosted by Seven Lions. Jason Ross, MitiS and Crystal Skies showcased their talent before Ophelia Records head Seven Lions treated dedicated fans to a special, intimate two-hour set.

Photo credit: Rukes

ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL

Closing out Miami Music Week was Ultra Music Festival. Also known as the world’s premier electronic music festival, Ultra Music Festival returned to the city of Miami for its 21stannual edition. This year, however, the festival relocated from its beloved home in Bayfront Park to Virginia Key. Having attended three previous editions of Ultra Music Festival in Miami, I was definitely keen to see how the new venue would impact the event.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

THE VENUE

The venue itself and entirely concreted dance floor area gave the festival more of an Electric Daisy Carnival vibe; which I definitely preferred over having previously danced on grass, wood chips and slippery flooring panels. The space overall felt a lot cleaner and more open than the old location.

The festival ground was separated into two parts, the main area and Resistance Island; both of which featured four stages. Resistance Island, however, was located approximately a 30-minute walk from the main area; which made exploring the island less desirable unless you genuinely wanted to see a particular artist.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

THE PRODUCTION

The production elements at this year’s edition of Ultra Miami were noticeably less than previous editions. Understandably due to the location being a historic and protected site, fireworks were kept to a minimum and streamers and confetti were non-existent. Whenever fireworks were present, however, they were extravagant and complimented the music perfectly.

Unfortunately, due to a small incident with the fireworks on the first night, firework shows were limited for the remainder of the weekend; and rumoured to be banned all together. One of the most memorable highlights of the main stage was Martin Garrix’s travelling laser show ‘Anima’, which closed out day two with a mind-blowing light show on the main stage.

THE PERFORMANCES

The annual music event gives artists an opportunity to showcase brand new music and shows for the upcoming festival season. Friday saw the likes of Alesso, Tiesto and Marshmello, close out the main stage; as well as a full house at the live stage for Odesza and the worldwide stage for Dog Blood.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

Saturday started off bass heavy with popular DJ’s Nghtmre and Slander presenting their Gud Vibrations show. Headliners Armin van Buuren, Zedd and Martin Garrix closed out day two with breathtaking performances. The crowd at the live stage was filled beyond capacity for festival favourite Illenium before Deadmau5 closed out with the debut of his brand new cube 3.0.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

Sunday once again featured popular headlining acts such as Oliver Heldens, Afrojack and David Guetta tearing up the main stage. The Chainsmokers closed out the final day of the event with a spectacular live performance on the main stage, which had the entire crowd singing along to their chart-topping hits.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

ULTRA HIGHLIGHTS

Sunday was all about the surrounding stages; with the live stage transformed for the A State Of Trance takeover. Hundreds of trance fans flocked to the live arena to see the likes of Vini Vici and Jeffrey Sutorius before stage host Armin van Buuren surprised fans with a massive 3.5-hour closing set.

The worldwide stage hosted popular bass, trap and dubstep heavy artists; with the likes of Ghastly, Kayzo, Rezz and Zeds Dead putting on epic performances. The smaller, nearby UMF Radio stage was anything but small on Sunday night; with Martin Garrix’s very own record label ‘Stmpd Rcrds’ taking over the stage. The takeover even included a surprise performance from the man himself.

Photo credit: Ultra Music Festival

Overall, this year’s edition of Miami Music Week was definitely one for the books. After attending for the fourth year in a row, it’s clear that the electronic music scene is only getting bigger and better each year; and Miami Music Week has continued to grow accordingly. The new home of Ultra Music Festival is definitely a complete 180 from the original venue, but the organisers have adapted extremely well; especially given the time frame and rules and restrictions. Miami Music Week continues to hold the title as one of the world’s premier electronic music events and I can’t wait to be back next year!

Read more about Rad Season’s top 5 festivals in Miami

Featured image credit: Miami Music Week

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Katarina Cvetko

Katarina is an international journalist and photographer from Sydney, Australia with a strong passion for music festivals. Since her first solo adventure in 2015, Katarina has travelled to over 30 countries in 5 continents and has attended over 100 music festivals worldwide. After conquering a bucket list journey of 52 music festivals in 52 weeks in 2018, Katarina continues to live a digital nomad lifestyle, travelling to festivals in a different country every week and sharing her experiences on social media.

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