Article | Onlythebeat

5 Thoughts on Ultra Music Festival’s After Movie

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Erik Skoog

Every March, Ultra Music Festival in Miami kicks off the annual festival circuit, and it never fails to bring in incredible production value, all of the top talent, and a wildly enthusiastic crowd. Why talk about it when you can just check out the after movie they released. It’s well worth the fifteen minutes.

1. This is a beautiful looking short film.

Cinematically I’m just in love it. The time that the production team put into this project is unbelievable. There's a reason it took six months to release. Besides being amazingly crisp, it takes you on an adventure while capturing the energy and excitement of the scene perfectly. The intermittent interviews with the DJs add just the right personal touch. That being said...

2. This did way more in 15 minutes than Under The Electric Sky did in 90. 

In July I wrote a review on the EDC documentary Under The Electric Sky. While I far from hated it, I was put off by how it was just a commercial masquerading as a documentary, forgoing the opportunity to explore the depth of a cultural phenomenon to give us shots of lasers and pretty people. United We Dance is much more earnest about what it is: a promotional video to get you excited while reminding you what it is that you loved about the scene. For a lot of us, it's right there in either one of the titles. Carl Cox even says at the end.
"In the end of the day, it's kind of like the power of music. It's what makes you think about where you are right now, how you're feeling, and what the DJ is creating. And that's awesome that you're able to completely control the moment where everyone comes together as one."
Maybe in United We Dance you don’t really get the full journey, but brevity does a much better job in this case. When you're effective, why waste any time?

3. Carl Cox seems like the most delightful person ever.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="645"] Look at him![/caption] Seriously how can you not just want to give him a hug?


4. I forgot how much of a shitshow Ultra was. 

We get a lot of magic in fifteen minutes, but a moment in particular stands out at 3:16.

Dude, are you seriously holding a joint in your hand?

Look, I get that you're excited. And you should be. Furthermore, I am a huge advocate of people needing to express themselves at shows and how important it is for everyone to have their own experience. That's part of the beauty of it all. However, even that has its breaking point. There's a huge gap between self-discovery and having sex with a tree. Or peeing on some unconscious guy. Or snorting cocaine off a girl's vajayjay. Yes, all of that happened. No, I'm not going to link to it. You know how to use Google.

By the way, 84 people were arrested and a security guard was trampled when people crashed the gate. and Ultra is constantly threatened to be banned from Miami.

Having those kinds of issues from the crowd is one thing, but the chaos bled into the festival staff as well. Everything about it just seemed painfully unprofessional. Highlights include:

  • The MC promising an encore from Deadmau5 and then immediately backpedaling when it couldn’t be allowed for legal reasons
  • The on air “talent” who was obviously high announcing he was "going to go talk to hot girls" and getting uncomfortably close to their faces so he could do "interviews"
  • Reducing anyone that actually spoke to on camera to just screaming the name of the country they're from blargle blargle Ultraaaaaaaa baby woooooooooooo

As much as I loved this after movie, I'm not sure that I'd ever want to make the trip to Ultra. It just seems like...a lot.

There becomes the point when behavior is actually detrimental to the culture as a whole, as it makes everything seem very one dimensional and shallow. This is what makes the news. Not any of the passion and love and relationships that anyone could tell you is far more universal.

5. We are part of something incredible.

Aside from all of that, this is a culture unlike anything. The meaning and perspective to be found in the community, the trust and love selflessly given to anyone, and the power it all has to make us feel connected to each other is so unique, that it’s no wonder people embed themselves so deeply.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="659"] Hardwell: King of Ultra[/caption]

This music changes lives. And for that, we should all be grateful.

By the way, tickets just went on sale for the 2015 festival. 

Get them before the sell out.

What are your thoughts on the after movie? How did your experience at the festival itself compare to how it was presented?