DJ Eldorado and Liz Dreisacker are sending dispatches from the massive dance music festival WMC in Miami. With expanding use of live visuals and laptop music, this mainstream music party is surprisingly in tune with the CDM wavelength. I’m sorry I missed Richie Hawtin tearing into Ableton Live. Here’s Liz. -Ed.

Pictured: the Hot Hot Heat at Ultra; not, in fact, the Killers. -PK

Ultra Music Festival 8 has evolved into a bigger festival
than ever, with an expected turnout this year of 50,000 dance music

To accommodate the increase in population, the festival
location has shifted slightly from the usual location of Bayfront
Park to Bicentennial Park and closer to the Causeway back over to
South Beach. Both locations are located in downtown Miami and have a natural
barrier of the bay on one side. In past years, the main stage in Bayfront Park was
contained in an amphitheater, with tiered seating and great sound
quality. Bayfront Park at times had seemed maze-like, with more
separation between the different stages. Bicentennial Park, the new
venue, was set up as one big field, with all stages on the same
level. This year’s main stage was at one end of a huge field of
people and the sound just seemed to get lost into the air.

On the main Ultra Stage, Paul Oakenfold was able to capture the
audience from song number one, transmitting his ethereal vibe for all
to hear. However, the last two acts, The Prodigy and Paul Van Dyk,
paled in comparison to last year’s talent, many of whom were
committed to play conflicting shows on Sunday instead. The divided
video screens were a great addition to this year’s setup.

Ultra does however provide something for everyone, and this year was
no exception with almost 200 acts on the bill. Because
of the multitude of artists and dance music genres, one can bounce
from one giant tent to another and be engulfed in a totally different
sound experience in each. Ultra Music Festival 2006 included 14
separate stages, including a cluster of Breakbeat and Drum and Bass.
Surprisingly, the sound from each different area did not overlap.

Carl Cox and
Friends exploded with energy and people in the House Tent. When Carl
Cox was performing, there were people packed into the tent and half
as many outside of the structure peering into the open side of the
structure at the stage. Carl Cox spun an incredible set after
sundown, flanked by Ultra dancers, Jennifer and Lynn in their
outrageous zebra outfits. The year before they had performed in full-
painted form for Rabbit in the Moon, the headliner for Carry On in
2006. Danny Tenaglia wrapped up the day on the Carl Cox and Friends
stage with 2 more hours before also heading over to the Carry On after party, to rock that event.

The House Tent was packed during the Benny Benassi set,
a high-energy performance complete with outstanding video production.
The theme of the day seemed to be eyes and synchronizing an optics-inspired video loop to the beats of the music.

Not to miss was Richie Hawtin on the Techno Stage, the Ableton Live
user put together an incredible performance that had the entire tent