Last night's debut of Can U Feel It: The UMF Experience, a new 45-minute concert documentary about last year's Ultra Music Festival, served as a sort of coronation of both Ultra and dance music in general.
For one thing, there was the red carpet. Just a decade ago, the thought of electronic music producers and DJs walking a packed photographers' gauntlet at an American movie premiere would have been absurd.
OK, so not all DJs are rock stars -- some were hard to recognize or dressed in cargo shorts or looked a little bit
uncomfortable in the glare of so many flashbulbs. That was refreshing.
At the same time, though, there was an audible buzz upon the arrival of legends like Carl Cox and Tiësto. You could almost gauge an arrival's perceived stardom by the number of promo models who suddenly appeared on either side. Carl Cox got four.
Meanwhile, Tiesto got six, plus one lady whose sole job seemed to be shepherding him around by the arm.
We felt a swell of hometown pride when Afrobeta showed up, especially since Tony Smurphio was wearing our personal favorite from his wacky-outfit collection: a strange Austin Powers-style velvet getup paired with sneakers covered in stuffed animal heads.
More fun footwear choices came courtesy of the Nervo twins.
This private entrance led to an elevated VIP platform where you could watch the movie from on high while drinking cocktails and scarfing popcorn with the stars.
The crowd's energy was so high that you could've mistook the assembly for the beginning of the festival itself. There were fans lined up down the block before the gates even opened. They cheered for the warm-up DJ. They whooped and clapped at all the right spots. And this was just for the movie version of a festival that begins tomorrow.
The sights, sounds, and personalities in Can U Feel It may all be familiar to devoted clubbers. But the film's mere existence and its fervent outdoor reception signals critical mass for Ultra as a brand.
It's no longer just a festival in Miami, but a movement.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.