‘You see what’s coming’: Music fans, artists swarm Miami for music week, Ultra

David Catanese /McClatchy DC

Thousands of music fans from more than 100 countries descended upon Miami this weekend for Ultra Music Festival – the city’s showcase electronic dance music festival – as well as 100 other round-the-clock events.

While the week serves up a vast menu of music entertainment for residents, visitors and acts as an economic booster for hotels, restaurants and bars, it’s also become a cardinal networking event for DJs and producers.

Alan Walker, a Norwegian DJ known for his platinum hit, “Faded,” wasn’t in town to play Ultra. On Wednesday, he was at Nautilus hotel on South Beach to play a pool party and mingle with other producers.

“It’s always been important to just keep the connections, meet new people, kind of see what’s new and popping,” Walker said. “You see what’s coming in the music industry, you meet new talent.”

Kream, a duo of brothers, also from Norway, were in town as fans to watch as much as artists to perform.

“You get inspired, I think that’s really important,” said Daniel Slettebakken. “Everyone is trying to show their new stuff, what’s coming out the rest of the year. You get inspired by that for sure.”

The sheer amount of artists in the city leads to bursts of creative spontaneity.

On Thursday night, Spotify teamed up with Tale of Us, a pair of electronic music producers, for a pop up event in the courtyard outside of Dante’s HiFi, a swanky cocktail bar in Wynwood.

The event was only announced to the public on social media channels a few hours before the event, so a few hundred diehard fans scurried to the free intimate performance.

A bar served free alcoholic beverages and beef, chicken and vegetable empanadas. Spotted in the crowd as Tale of Us spun through its set was another up-and-coming DJ, Enamour, another artist in town to catch events as a fan.

At Ultra on Friday night, fans were treated to a big-name surprise: Zedd, the Russian-German producer, brought out Ice Spice, the underground-turned mainstream rapper, during his evening set.

From Tuesday through Sunday evening, the Miami area hosted at least 117 music events outside of Ultra. From pool parties at staple Miami Beach hotels, to immersive visual experiences at Factory Town in Hialeah, Music Week averages an offering of nearly 20 different events each day and night.

The parties did bring out some bad actors.

At an overly crowded El Row party at Factory Town on Thursday night, multiple people had their phones stolen, according to attendees and organizers. A jam-packed mass of people trying to make its way between the main stage and beverage stands made the situation precarious, with bodies closely pressed against each other and mobility compromised.

A spokesperson for the Hialeah Police Department did not return a request for comment on the number of thefts or if any arrests had been made.