Music to move the masses

Under the shimmer of thousands of lights in downtown Miami, the pulse-pounding booms of techno’s finest fill the air.

Flashes of light illuminate the night, produced by a laser light show that puts Hollywood to shame.

This will be the lucid backdrop entertaining crowds of 40,000 at the Ultra Music Festival.

The event features 10 music arenas where more than 100 artists will take their turns working turntables for 14 non-stop hours of techno.

This year’s festival features a rare U.S. date by Underworld, which is headlining the show.

Renowned as one of the most stunning live acts touring the globe today, Underworld’s Karl Hyde and Rick Smith already wowed crowds at their last U.S. trek and are looking to repeat their performance at UMF.

Hyde and Smith are coming off the successful A Hundred Days Off released in September 2002.

Paul Oakenfold, one of the world’s most renowned DJs, is also scheduled to perform at the festival. Oakenfold, who has gained acclaim for his work on various techno compilations, released Bunka in 2002.

His newest album produced the hits “Ready Steady Go” and “Starry Eyed Surprise.”

DJ TiÃsto, recently honored by DJ Magazine as the world’s No. 1 DJ, brings his ever-popular euphoric and melodic style of trance to the UMF stage. Known throughout the world for his smooth sets, TiÃsto’s production and DJing can be found on numerous compilations and in many major European clubs.

The festival’s co-founder, Alex Owens, said he and his partner, Russell Faibisch, wanted to bring the energy of a large European show stateside.

“I basically started getting into music, and I wanted to get a big event to promote both the magazine and the music,” Owens said. “We wanted to get on the same level as the biggest festivals in Europe and do the best for the dance community.”

He said the concert has always had high energy, but he believes that this year, they have finally brought it up to the same level as the biggest concerts in Europe.

This concert is also unique because of the time it takes place, Owens said.

“We are the first people to do a daytime festival,” Owens said. “This is the biggest event in the U.S. history of dance.”

The safety and security of those in attendance is one of the main concerns of concert promoters.

“We run a very clean and safe event,” Owens said. “We hire undercover cops and extra security to make sure that the people in attendance are safe while they are having a good time. We are the only promoters to go into such a large event with so much security.”

Coming off last year’s record attendance of 30,000, promoters have predicted that the 2003 crowd will surpass the 40,000 mark. Pollstar (an online touring database) reported that, after Paul McCartney and ‘NSYNC, the Ultra Music Festival represented the third-largest single performance in the United States last year.

Contact Gustavo Hernandezat