No matter how early you get to Miami, everyone knows that the big show kicks off today with the start of Ultra Music Festival. Undoubtedly the crown jewel of the entire week, there is no shortage of artists to choose from — in fact, you might be struggling to decide yourself. Lucky for you, we took the liberty of scanning the massive schedule and bringing you some of our picks in the form of a handy survival day guide. You can think of it as a ‘day in the life’ kind of thing. Of course we’ll be on the ground delivering you as real-time coverage as we possibly can, but this is a handy page to bookmark if you find yourself glancing at a pamphlet unsure of who to see next.
With seven stages in total, it will be impossible to see everyone playing on Friday of UMF, so if you haven’t gone through the schedule yet, let us walk you through it.
4PM: On day one doors open later than usual, but Nicky Romero will be ready to kick things off at the UMF Korea stage. It’s near some of the other smaller stages — and the main entrance — so there’s no need to gun it for the main stage yet. We’ll get there.
4:40PM: Michael Woods goes on after Nicky at the UMF Korea tent at 5PM but if you’re getting antsy, you can get trashed with Tommy Trash at the Main Stage. It’s still early in the day though, so staying is probably the move. We’ll be heading to the Main Stage later, but it’s probably worth waiting for the sun to set and the crowd to build — especially if this is your first Ultra.
5:40PM: Chris Lake comes on at UMF Korea before Madeon comes on. Martin Solveig — who is healthy and well — is the alternative at the Main Stage, followed by Benny Benassi and an early Afrojack at 7:45. It’ll inevitably fill up around that time, so you might want to get there early, but this is definitely the time when things start to get tricky.
6:40PM: If you’re still at UMF Korea, you can stay for Madeon, or you can head over to the main stage for Benny Benassi. Either combination will be perfectly enjoyable, so see how you’re feeling and don’t forget to mingle between the other smaller tents before heading over.
Editor’s Note: Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
7:45PM: There is something about seeing Afrojack at a festival that is worlds better than in any club— look no further than Electric Zoo for evidence. If this is your first festival, you should probably be here, as the sun sets at 7:34, perfect timing for Afrojack on the Sunset.
However, we also saw Porter back at Electric Zoo, and were impressed with his DJing abilities and awesome energy. If you’re looking for something with a little more bass, then the UMF Korea tent is the place to be for Porter Robinson. We also can’t leave out Richie Hawtin who will be at the Carl Cox and Friends tent — if you’re looking for something more old school.
8:20PM: If you were already at UMF Korea for Porter, you could probably stay here for Dirty South. We’ve seen Dragan countless times, and he never fails to deliver. If you’re at Afrojack, stay put because..
9:10PM: Skrillex takes the stage at 9:10. Need we say more? Even if you’re not “in” to his music, it’s worth seeing him live even if you don’t venture all the way up front. He’s a Grammy award winner and he’s playing the main stage of Ultra. This is the place to be at 9:10
Editor’s Note: Make sure you’re eating and drinking! Rage safely!
10:30PM: This time slot is tough: Tiësto, Dada Life or Pretty Lights? Tiesto has been known to destroy Ultra livesets, but Dada Life is a major wildcard. However, their timeslot isn’t even an hour, so that leaves Tiesto and Pretty Lights. This one comes down to a matter of preference, but we might have to give this one to Tiesto… He is our number one EDM act of 2011, after all. What better way to close out your first day of Ultra by getting maximal crazy and ending on a high note?
Luckily for you, there are really only two stages to worry about on day one of Ultra: the Main Stage and UMF Korea. The main stage has the big names you readers have probably seen countless times, while UMF Korea has more of the up-and-comers. Still, the Carl Cox tent can’t be forgotten, especially considering Carl himself will be spinning a two-hour set starting at 10PM. You should definitely check out the full list of set times for yourself though, there’s bound to be someone you’re itching to see.