View our comprehensive Miami Music Week event listings.
View our comprehensive Miami Music Week event listings.

Ultra Music Festival 2011 is more diverse than ever

A nasty breakup. Harsh words. Public spats. No comments. Whoa, dude, isn't this supposed to be a party?

Yes, indeed. But from the moment New Times web editor Jose D. Duran broke the news this past November that Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival would no longer share the second-to-last week of March, the rift spiraled into soap opera territory as DJs, promoters, and party people were forced into one uneasy alliance or another.

Certain electronic music industry figures — like Club Space owner and vocal WMC proponent Louis Puig, and the Windish Agency's resident Ultra advocate, Steve Goodgold — went aggressively public with their support. Most kept quiet, though, choosing one side or the other for purely practical reasons, such as tour schedules and pre-breakup club commitments. And then there was a third group — consisting mostly of old-school ambassadors like international trend-caller and scene statesman Pete Tong, dance music monthly DJ Mag, and long-standing indie house label Nervous Records — that assumed a nonthreatening position of neutrality, attending both WMC and Ultra week.


Ultra Music Festival

View our comprehensive Miami Music Week event listings.

But now with Winter Music Conference 2011 in the past, the tension between these feuding electro factions seems to be easing. The average fan doesn't appear to be interested in some kind of extended estrangement between the conference and the festival. And for WMC's annual open-vote International Dance Music Awards, the electronic music community still voted to award Ultra another win for Best Music Event. Even the organizers appear to recognize the benefits of a peace agreement. When New Times interviewed Ultra cofounder Russell Faibisch for this guide, we asked him whether it's likely the two events will reunite for 2012. He expressed optimism, answering, "Always a possibility. It would be really great if we can make it happen together next year."

In any case, all of this messy breakup drama hasn't hurt Ultra. For its 13th annual edition, the festival has expanded to three full days of electronic excess with a 200-plus-act lineup that's just as stacked as ever, featuring dance music legends like Underworld, Carl Cox, and Moby, as well as crossover stars like Crystal Castles, Jinder, !!!, Cut Copy, Röyksopp, and Disco Biscuits — not to mention pop larks such as '80s New Wave godfathers Duran Duran. Add the fact that the fest sold out a full month and four days before its scheduled start date, and 2011 has been Ultra's most massive triumph so far.

Even the satellite events have exceeded the levels of overindulgence set by previous electronic music weeks in Miami. A flood of upstart parties — Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel, Trouble & Bass and the Overthrow's Black Magick Miami, and second-year L.A. import Hard, as well as the first Beatport Music Awards show — all seized significant turf. And still, most of the old, familiar, end-of-March dance marathons returned for their regular slots, including an expanded 36-hour Sunday School starring minimal genius Richie Hawtin, Above & Beyond's Anjunabeats Ice Palace invasion, and the Biscayne Lady beat freak cruises.

So obviously, Miami Music Week is a party. But partying is serious business.

Let the following links be your guide to Ultra and beyond.

Ultra cofounder Russell Faibisch talks expansion plans and making peace with WMC

Ultimate Ultra Music Festival Survival Kit

Swedish House Mafia's One Night Stand at the Masquerade Motel March 26

Underworld at Ultra Music Festival March 26

The Overthrow and Trouble & Bass's Black Magick Miami Party at the Castle March 26

Hard Miami with Diplo, Tiga, and SebastiAn at Grand Central March 24

Pete Tong's Pool Party at the Surfcomber Hotel March 25

Biscayne Lady Ultra Fest yacht cruises March 24 to 26

Beatport Music Awards: A guide to picking the big winners

Dutch DJ Sied van Riel uses Twitter to score direct KLM flights to Ultra in Miami

Carl Cox and Friends at Ultra Music Festival March 25 and 26

Richie Hawtin at Sunday School for Degenerates March 25

!!! at Ultra Music Festival March 27

Röyksopp at Ultra Music Festival March 25

Jinder at Ultra Music Festival March 27

Disco Biscuits at Ultra Music Festival March 27

Cut Copy at Ultra Music Festival March 26

Moby at Ultra Music Festival March 26

Crystal Castles at Ultra Music Festival March 27

Visionquest with Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss, Shaun Reeves, Seth Troxler, and others at the Shelborne Beach Resort March 25

Deadmau5 at Ultra Music Festival March 26

Anjunabeats party at Ice Palace March 24

Uncle Luke's Hot Cakes at Finnegan's River March 26

Pretty Lights at the Fillmore Miami Beach March 24

Simian Mobile Disco at Eve March 24 and Ultra March 26

Nervous Records party at the Clevelander March 27


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