It is with a heavy heart that I write that Ultra will take place in Miami no more.
Almost a year ago, I re-launched My Miami Music from it’s origination in 2010, prompted by the heart-wrenching news of Avicii’s death. There was too much to say. (link here) And again, I write, because there is too much to say.
Ultra Music Festival changed my life. From 19 years old to 29, I grew up with, fought with, and rekindled a love for this hometown soiree. The fire, the fury, the random run-ins of friends as they came out of the nearest tent, balls-deep in sweat. These memories sound futile, but they encapsulate the magic of the Festival itself.
Lose yourself and find yourself. Whether you involve dancing, drinking, drugs, or relish in the lights and smog, the music is the ultimate catalyst to the magic one experiences. It’s yogic in a way. You’re looking at each other with dilated pupils, or smiles galore, and it’s that union of like-meets-like. Crazy-meets-crazy. And it feels normal. It feels like home. And in that moment of normalcy while feeling different, that’s the moment when a “lost” becomes “found.” That’s when anything that felt out of place, anything that seemed complicated, or unsure, falls aside. There is no longer a mold you’re fitting to, there’s no longer a form you’re adhering to. It’s true expression of self. It’s freedom. And with that, comes a peace in the madness, that only a house music addict can understand. It’s a release. A relief. A purity. Identities are renewed, perhaps even born. A breakthrough. And with eyes now open, there’s clarity and reassurance that you and the world are great because you’re still standing on your own two feet as yourself without the pre-conceived structures holding you back. You are free. You are smiling. And people surround you, assuring you, you’re doing just fine.
When they say, “House music is a spiritual thing,” it’s really no joke. A certain strength comes from indulging in it. Immersing in it. They say spirituality is not for the faint of heart, well, neither is house music.
So I have to give my hands up to Ultra. Thank you for providing a context in which I could get lost and found. I needed it to become the person I am today. Those breaks of societal conventions and norms, provided some needed self-searching. Without it, I might have turned into a lifeless, corporate hull of a human. But there’s truth in the music. I think the music is almost what saved me. Cut all the bullshit. The models. The promotions. The tech. The famous people. Even the famous DJs. With good music, with the right ambiance, that release is possible. That connection to home. With self, Divine, other, it’s there. And in that, there is truth. You experience it, and know it’s real. That’s why the music becomes magnetic. It’s the connection, between so many elements. And we see the same people on the scene, because they know the potent magic that lives, that which can also lie dormant if not given the right opportunity.
So thank you for the right opportunities Ultra. Many years I enjoyed the beauty you set up.
As for practicality, if Ultra is no more, what does that mean for Winter Music Conference? Does the term Miami Music Week still live? Will I still get to see Carl Cox throw down his disco set at annual closing party at Basement Sunday night? These are all very good questions, none of which I have the answers to, but we will surely find out.
With you, Miami. <3