5 Things Ultra Fest 2012 Taught Me About Modern Life

Ultra Music Festival 2012

Ultra Music Festival is one of the most ridiculous music festivals one can encounter. It’s like a rite of passage for newb EDMers and Miami residents alike. I had my first raver experience there when I was still in high school, back when it was only a one day thing. Since then, it’s grown to become a serious monster of epic proportions, but it still seems to serve a purpose.

I went to this year’s festival with a serious grudge, and though I spent the majority of my time looking around in horror at a mutilated scene gone bad, I have to admit, Ultra taught me a lot about life. What can a music festival teach a hater about life, you ask? Well, check it.

1. The Stereotypes Are Melting; Everyone’s Jumping Everyone Else’s Train

Ultra Fest 2012 attendees

Are these coordinated douchebags bros or hipsters? I can't even tell anymore.

In the near future, you’re not going to be able to tell a bro from a hipster from a basshead, and it’s not even going to matter. Already, it’s difficult to distinguish between social classes. It was almost creepy the way I’d look over my shoulder to see an otherwise innocuous hip kid dressed like an old friend from 2006, only to recoil in horror at the realization that ripped guy in question probably called my friend a fag for wearing neon tight pants back in the day. And there were so many zombie-faced whores in kandi necklaces, it was hard to tell the real hardcore ravers from the band-wagon junkies.

This makes it a lot harder to judge the assholes around you, but it also makes it easier to fall back into silly plur mentalities of, “let’s just enjoy the music together because that’s what Daft Punk wants.” For christ’s sake, we’re becoming one giant asshole.

2. The Children Are Watching Us

Ultra Fest 2012 attendees

These kids were loving life, and may grow up to save the world - or destroy it.

While you’re running around half-dead to reality with a binky in your mouth, let this little thought run around in the back of your mind: There are impressionable youths all around you, and they’re influenced by your actions.

I ran into this trio of clearly under-aged attendees on Sunday. When I asked them their ages, they said 12 to 14. Naturally I was like, “So is this your first Ultra?” NO! IT WAS THEIR THIRD! They were at least nine years old when they first came out to the biggest party in the southeast U.S., and they were there to see Steve Aoki.

Thankfully, these kids were totally sober and well behaved little shining rays of example a midst the total degradation of adults acting like drugged-up babies.  The future is either totally screwed, or a million times cooler than ourselves. Only time will tell, and you should do your part to ensure they don’t get the wrong ideas.

3. No Matter What We Do, We Can’t Stop The Robots From Coming

Ultra 2012 app screen shot

I stole this picture from the Miami New Times, but I work for them so they can just deal with it. (Attribution)

Juxtaposed against the quaint brilliance of Kraftwerk’s performance was the very real presence of the technological takeover. For those not in attendance, Ultra Fest 2k12 didn’t bother much with passing out maps and schedules (although they were available at the main entrance).

Instead, Fest planners encouraged ticket holders to use their smart phones to download the official Ultra app, which gave them a map and schedule, as well as allowed them to create their own schedules and share them with friends. When I was like, “I wonder where my new friend will be around 2 p.m.,” my new friend simply texted me his personal Ultra schedule, complete with pictures of the artists. And all weekend I was getting mass texts from my 352 crew, letting me know where they were and what the act was like they were watching. I actually found my friends through the massive crowd during Justice in just this manner.

You’re probably also aware the majority of the festival was live streamed on youtube, and full sets can in fact be watched online. This tells me a couple things; the festival experience is forever changed by the integration of new technologies, and it will only get bigger from here.

4. EDM Is The Most Powerful Cultural Force In The Modern Age


To be honest, I’ve known this moment was coming since I first got all excited in my belly over “We Are Your Friends.” No, even earlier, when I first saw Daft Punk live. I noticed it happening when Timbaland and Nelly Furtado released “Promiscuous Girl,” with its heavy electronic accents and dance floor swagger, but it was still a while away until complete EDM domination.

But now it’s officially over. Diplo is one of the most interesting producers on the radio, David Guetta is all in your face about it and Madonna is rolling balls. You know it’s a KO when the queen of reinvention demands to share juju with the neon masses in order to push her new drug-reference fueled album. The reality is, nothing is more powerful on this planet right now than a successful DJ, and the uhntz uhntz has gotten into literally everything. Inescapable power, unlimited reach.

5. Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkay?

Sure, you probably survived your trip to Ultra 2k12 (and by trip, I mean trip). But… this happened.


Yeah, no, that girl’s not drunk. She’s also extremely tiny and clearly missing a good father figure. Also, she’s gonna live with this the rest of her life. So, think before you give your tiny friend a bunch of good time juice and then leave her alone with a tree. And don’t over do it. Use yer brain.

Transmission: out.


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