Ultra returns to Bayfront Park for another year of EDM insanity on March 24-26. Plenty of uncertainties abound this year. Will Skrillex make an appearance after storming New York City with Four Tet and Fred Again? Will the Colonel return? Will we ever see acts like Snoop Dogg or the Cure play at the festival again?
Whatever happens, there's some great music coming to Miami. Here are New Times' picks for the best acts of the Ultra 2023 lineup.
Andy CJunglists, this one's for you. There is no one on this list more respected in their own scene than Andy C, quite possibly the most accomplished, celebrated name in drum and bass. Founder of the seminal label RAM Records, he pioneered the genre as part of the group Origin Unknown, whose track "Valley of the Shadows" is considered one of the best of the 1990s. As a new generation of jungle and drum 'n' bass DJs like Tim Reaper and Sherelle gain prominence, Andy C can be seen as an elder statesman of the scene. In 2018, he became the first drum 'n' bass artist to sell out London's Wembley Stadium. Sunday, March 26, at the Worldwide Stage.
Carl CoxIf you've been to Ultra, we don't need to explain who Carl Cox is and why you are going to see him DJ for the umpteenth time. The face of Resistance has frequently threatened to retire only to get immediately back into the swing of things with Ibiza residencies, stadium-headlining shows, and, in 2022, his first album in a decade, Electronic Generations. Few other DJs are as respected, hardworking, and consistent as him. Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, at the Resistance Superstructure.
DeathpactFrom Deadmau5 and Marshmello to Claptone and Sbtrkt, dance music is rife with riffs on the "masked DJ" persona pioneered by Daft Punk. Deathpact is the latest and most deliberately mysterious musician to follow this trend. The black-hooded producer/DJ launched in 2018 with an AR game, a breadcrumb trail of lockboxes and flash drives, and a "Deathcord" Discord server for fans to play along and unravel the mystery. It all culminated in the artist dropping their debut album, Split // Personality, in 2021. But the biggest mystery — Deathpact's secret identity — remains. Are they famous? Are they just some guy? They're probably just some guy, let's be honest. Saturday, March 25, at the Worldwide Stage.
Eric Prydz presents H0L0Possibly the biggest name in progressive house, a genre known for big names, Eric Prydz is bringing back his H0L0 show, a visual spectacle that uses a massive, upscaled holographic projector of the kind used on shows like ABBA Voyage and the infamous Tupac appearance at Coachella in 2012. Coachella, by the way, is the only other place Prydz is taking H0L0 in 2023, and he's definitely gonna be there, flesh and blood, on the DJ decks. Friday, March 24, at the Resistance Superstructure.
Kx5Kx5 is Kaskade and Deadmau5. Enough said. Well, we'll say a bit more anyway. EDM has seen plenty of supergroups as of late, from Dog Blood (Skrillex and Boys Noize) to Jack Ü (Skrillex and Diplo) and Skrillex x Fred Again x Four Tet. (Look, Skrilly does this a lot!) Now the mouse man and Killer Kas are getting in on the act, building on their 2008 hit "I Remember" and creating a new paradigm of big-room house beauty. They've even teamed up with Sofi Tukker and Elderbrook on tracks. Sunday, March 26, at the Live Stage.
Maceo Plex B2B Michael BibiAmong a handful of back-to-back sets we're keeping our eyes on is this supermassive meetup between Maceo Plex and Michael Bibi. Plex is, of course, a huge name on the global dance circuit, having been raised between Dallas and Miami and having cut his teeth in some of the hottest clubs here and overseas. On the other hand, London-bred Bibi is new blood who made his Miami Music Week debut last year and played massive sets at Coachella and his own Ibiza residency in 2022. Friday, March 24, at the Resistance Superstructure.
M.I.A.One of the few actual "live" acts playing the Live Stage this year, the "Paper Planes" rapper released a new album, MATA, in 2022. Unfortunately, the main thing most people heard from M.I.A. in the last year was her big mouth. Yes, she may be an anti-vaxxer, but that only increases the chances of hearing her say something completely insane at the festival. Ultra booked Azalea Banks a few years ago, and this year, it also has Grimes. The festival is becoming something of a destination for problematic femme faves. Maybe next year, they'll get someone truly heinous, like J.K. Rowling. Or worse: Lydia Tár. Saturday, March 25, at the Live Stage.
Nicole Moudaber B2B Chris LiebingResistance, the festival-within-a-festival at Ultra, tends to be much less EDM-inclined, giving house and techno fans a refuge from the drops, bass, and bluster further out. Playing the intimate Cove space are two ferocious techno DJs that aren't afraid to get in too deep: Mood Records founder Nicole Moudaber and Frankfurt-based CLR label head Chris Liebing. Friday, March 24, at the Cove.
RezzAny regular at Ultra knows Rezz, if not for her trademark hypno-glasses, then for her dedication to dirty, squelching, heavy, distorted beats and playing them as loudly as possible. She'll be playing at the Live Stage this year on Friday with a visual experience guaranteed to impress — or possibly frighten — with a horror-movie aesthetic building on her most recent release, Nightmare on Rezz Street 2. Friday, March 24, at the Live Stage.
Swedish House MafiaA Swedish House Mafia reunion at Ultra has been a constantly swirling rumor ever since the group originally disbanded in 2013 at the height of the EDM boom and their own celebrity — and at Ultra, no less. The dream finally came true in 2018 when the group played a surprise closing set at the festival. There are no surprises this time. The trio released its debut album, Paradise Again, in 2022, and this year's appearance is part of the tour behind it. Swedish House Mafia's history is deeply intertwined with Ultra's, so when they headline the main stage on Sunday night, you'd better show up early for a good spot — everybody and their father will be there singing "Don't You Worry Child." Sunday, March 26, at the Main Stage.
Ultra Music Festival 2023. Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; ultramusicfestival.com. Tickets cost $399.95 to $1,499.95.