With Ultra Miami 2016 fast approaching, I thought it only fitting to share my first Ultra Miami experience. This in fact is the festival that started it all for me. Yes, you guessed it, Ultra Miami 2013 was my very first music festival. This single festival catapulted my love for Electronic Dance Music and strengthened it. It showed me a community that I can truly be myself and let my creativity shine through.
At first, I didn’t have any clue into the EDM or rave culture. All I knew is what was personified in the media as drug addicts and what not. It wasn’t until my first show at my university, Florida International University, during homecoming that I was so wrong about the whole culture. Kaskade performed and I fell in love further with the music. It wasn’t until last minute, I decided to buy a friends remaining days to Ultra Miami 2013 Weekend 1.
I attended with some of my sorority sisters and closest friends and I had no clue what to expect. My sisters Tish and Jenaeah both opened my eyes to the culture with explanations of what kandi and PLUR was. They also explained that dressing up wasn’t mandatory but so much fun. That people dressed in themes or just dressed casual. Since this was my first festival, I decided to go hard or go home. I dressed up both days I went.
Days before the event, Tish and I had kandi sessions in her dorm room. This was so much fun. This was where I learned how to create my first singles and simple cuff. I never would have thought I would be where I am now because of this one life altering decision.
Ultra Miami 2013 Weekend 1, Saturday
Rave day then comes in furiously. Butterflies are in my stomach and excitement runs rampant. I have no idea what to expect. I’m dressed all in neon colors and feel immensely insecure about everything. When Tish and I board the train to downtown, my insecurities begin to subside. I see everyone around me dressed up, which its obvious they are also on their way to Ultra too. Covered in kandi, and talking about who they are excited to see and what to expect. As the train reaches downtown, we switch over to the people mover. The butterflies are intensifying. Now is the moment of truth. We have arrived to downtown. As we walk down the streets of Miami, I’m getting more and more nervous. The excitement is almost unbearable. I begin to hear the music, the bass, and the excitement truly begins.
As we make it through security, ID and ticket check; we are in. I’m home and the feels begin. In order to truly understand how I felt, there is a meme that is out there of Willie Wonka that says “Come with me to world of pure imagination.” That is exactly how I felt.
We walk in to Ultra and the first stage we hit, Bingo Players is on. We then run into our sister Jenaeah and she has no clue I was coming to Ultra. I wanted to surprise her and she was ecstatic that she could experience my first music festival with me. We all continue to walk around and see all the different stages and see what’s going on.
Ultra Miami is where I also traded my very first piece of kandi and learned how to do PLUR. For those that are unfamiliar with what PLUR is, it is an acronym. It stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. I proceeded to do the respective hand gestures and received that first piece. Your first time you ever received and traded kandi will always stick in your mind. You shared that first memory with an absolute stranger and you have that connection with each other. Since attending so many festivals, I have this connection and memory with so many first timers. Its amazing that I was once that person on the other side receiving and trading for the first time.
We then met up with some of their friends and some more of our sisters. Moving from stage to stage experiencing what the festival has to offer.
Ultra Miami 2013 Weekend 1, Sunday
The next day we all meet up at Ultra and continue through the motions going from stage to stage checking out different acts. It was day two that has some amazing memories. This was the last day of Weekend one and deadmau5 was performing. I new I had to check him out. As the sun sets, we split ways and go to the artists we each want to see. A few of my other sisters and I go to check out deadmau5. As each set ends, we inch closer and closer to the main stage. I end up meeting this awesome guy named Justin, who just returned from overseas with the military and we hit it off. We talk for a little bit, and he suggests we go further in so we all make a chain and proceed to go through the crowd. When deadmau5 starts, Justin asks if I want to go on his shoulders for the start of Joel’s set. I respond with a definite yes! So at the start of the set, I’m on Justin’s shoulders and I’m in absolute awe of the awesomeness that Joel is throwing down. This is one of my most favorite sets out of all the festivals I have been too.
I never thought that I would have ever gone to a rave or music festival in my life. Electronic Dance Music saved my life. As a veteran, I suffer from depression and anxiety. These experiences help me with these mental illnesses. The level of acceptance is amazing. My Anxiety and Depression go away and all that matters are my friends and the music. Sure people give me a hard time for spending so much money on these experiences. I respond with this question, “How is it so different that you decide to spend money on materialistic items such as designer bags, cars, etc. I decided to spend them on experiences that will better me as a person and stick with me in my memories for a lifetime. From these experiences, I have friends that I still remain in contact with from these events. What do you have, just a bag or a car. I have memories and friends that will last a lifetime.” So don’t let anyone tell you different. Ultra Miami 2013 was a life changing experience and I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. Can’t wait to see what this year brings, who will I meet, and who will be performing? Only time will tell.
Here is the official Ultra Miami 2013 Aftermovie: