Welcome to the Mecca of electronic dance music: Ultra Festival, held each year in Miami's Bayfront Park during the annual Winter Music Conference, draws 160,000-plus fans bedecked in day-glo, toting neon sticks and seeking a chemical and physical fix. The latter comes via the pulsing beats provided by a stellar lineup that this year features EDM heavy hitters like Afrojack, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Kaskade, Swedish House Mafia, Tiesto and many, many, many more.
But choice, dear concertgoers, is a deceiving thing. God forbid, but what if you choose wrong and watch a lackluster set while another artist dazzles across the park? Worry not: Fuse is here to help. We scoured the bill and hand-picked the must-see EDM artists at Ultra Fest 2013. So grab a pen and that pocket-sized festival itinerary and start circling, because Fuse has your Ultra experience all planned out.
Roughly 15 years before the current U.S. EDM explosion, British dance group Faithless was causing thousands of ecstasy-fueled ravers to throw hands skywards with epic tracks like “Salva Mea” and “God is a DJ.” Fun fact: Founding member Rollo’s sister is Dido, who appeared on a few of the band’s tracks.
France's electro house DJ is fast becoming an EDM vet despite still being a teenager. The electro wunderkind started crafting music at age 11 and has been making major waves on the scene since 2011. Catch him live and when you're shouting about how great he is, make sure you're pronouncing it "Mad-ee-on."
Skrillex called Porter Robinson "one of the most incredible songwriters in EDM," and for good reason. This 20-year-old North Carolina DJ does more than just spin bangers—he crafts songs. Robinson recently told us his highly emotional upcoming album will "be jarring for some people," so check him out at Ultra to get an early taste of how his craft is evolving.
Electro-house DJ Wolfgang Gartner has been around for a spell, but he always seems to be ahead of the next trend. As a pioneer of the so-called "complextro" sub-genre, Gartner's bass lines are always a bit more intricate and his glitchy moments a little better-timed than other DJs. And as someone who's friends with everyone from will.i.am to deadmau5, you know Gardner knows how to throw down hard.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the scene or a longtime EDM junkie, bets are you'll love Benny Benassi. He broke out in the 2000s with awesomely fun dance tracks like 2002 robotic techno smash “Satisfaction." He recently dived into the mainstream producing on Chris Brown's electro-pop banger "Beautiful People" and collaborating with Madonna, Kelis, T-Pain, Iggy Pop and more. He earned a massive EDM hit of his own with "Cinema" featuring Gary Go (above).
The English dubstep producer was working in the genre years before it became cool. In 2007 he released his first album, which brought a lighter take on the usually dark genre. He’s made steps into the mainstream by co-producing M.I.A.’s “XXXO” single and in 2012 released a collaboration album with Cypress Hill. He even worked with Britney Spears on her 2011 album, Femme Fatale. While none of his tracks made the cut, he must have made an impression on Brit who incorporated dubstep on the record's first single, “Hold It Against Me.”
Despite a name that suggests maimed vegetables, Bloody Beetroots is one producer, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo; though at Ultra you’ll see both him and his live collaborator, Tommy Tea. You’ll easily recognize them with their look: masks of Spiderman’s arch enemy, Venom. After the show, you won't forget their high-energy set of Italian electro and old-school Italo disco.
Acid house/techno DJ Carl Cox will excite veteran fans—he’s been raving since the '80s! The living EDM legend—who can still sell out shows in his native UK—became famous for spinning on three decks. Expect one of the most diverse sets of the festival since Cox has over 30 years in the biz and seen a lot of trends come and go.
Australian twins Miriam and Olivia Nervo began their career as models, but they soon heard the calling of the 1s and 2s. "We're pop writers and we're club addicts," Miriam notes, hence the career change.
In West Philadelphia born and raised. No, for real. Philly native Harry Rodrigues is a trap and bass music producer who broke out this year with "Harlem Shake." Yes, that Harlem Shake. The song's gone No. 1 in three countries around the world, including the U.S.