Ultra Music Festival 2014: The Top 10 Artists To Watch

 James Lyndsay


As America’s most international dance music festival - and the first on the world’s festival season calendar - Ultra Music Festival has the power to make a career. Just ask Krewella or Martin Garrix, both of whom hit the mainstage big time after paying their dues on smaller stages at earlier times last year. Below are the 10 artists to watch at this year’s Ultra, which begins today (March 28).  They are likely to bounce their way up to the big show in a year or two. For now, you've got to arrive early, but all of them are worth risking a sunburn for.

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Friday, 4:00, Worldwide Stage

At 23, the Las Vegas based 3lau (you can pronounce the 3 as a B), has already built an impressive DJ resume for himself. But with new single “How You Love Me” on Universal’s recently re-launched Casablanca Records, he is poised to make his Ultra debut as a bonafide big room producer ready for a breakthrough.

Friday, 5:00, UMF Radio Stage

Last year, along with Borgeous, Canadian duo DVBBS had a monster tune with “Tsunami.” That was just their first of many deadly waves to hit the EDM shores. If you’re still shaking off your week when you arrive on Friday evening, this set will wake you up.

Pegboard Nerds
Saturday, 12:00 Noon, UMR Radio Stage

Dubstep lives in the Pegboard Nerds! The Scandinavian duo embraces the drops and the wub wubs. Friends with Krewella (they’ve remixed their tracks and were featured on their track “This Is Not The End”), they also know how to connect with a crowd. If they play this right they’ll be playing a much later set-time next year.

Saturday, 1:40, Live Stage

Disclosure isn’t here. But Tourist, who signed to the duo’s Method imprint last year, is. And though they share a bunch of friends and some house music love, Tourist’s ‘90s R&B-influenced live-produced shows are a wholly distinct entity - an electronic jewel-box of wonder.

Henry Fong
Saturday, 3:00, UMF Radio Stage

Progressive and electro, Henry Fong’s sound is custom-made for a stage like this. It’s big and expansive and utterly in-tune with what is next. With his California-cool demeanor, watching him play is a soothing experience in and of itself.

Saturday, 4:00, Bayfront Stage

As a member of the Dirtybird crew, J. Phlip is automatically tech-house-credentialed. But once you see her DJ you’ll be converted as a devotee of the west coast tech sound. Smooth and jacking at the same time, this is booty-shaking forward-thinking dance music at its finest. 

Michael Brun
Sunday, 12:00 Noon, Main Stage

Before he turned 22, Michael Brun was remixing for the likes of Calvin Harris, Armin van Buuren and even Alicia Keys. He released his first EP, “Gravity,” last fall on Dirty South’s Phazing Records and makes his Ultra debut this weekend. His sound is big, melodic, mainstage-ready and worth arriving early for.

Sunday, 1:00, Stage 7

Combining Sri Lankan rhythms and EDM is more than just a gimmick for Ranidu, it’s life-affirming and authentic. Sonically, the result is unlike anything else on the Ultra lineup. As America’s premiere international festival, it’s fitting that Ranidu is this year’s most exciting ambassador of the ever-growing global dance scene.

Isaac Tichauer
Sunday, 2:00, UMF Radio Stage

Deep house revivalists are one thing, but Australian Isaac Tichauer goes a step further, incorporating the sounds of original house, nu-house and electro into his productions. As a producer, he’s one to watch. As an Ultra performer, he’s one not to miss.

Sunday, 4:00, Ultra Worldwide Stage

While he is steadily releasing his own productions now, MAKJ’s origins are in the world of mashups and remixes, meaning that his DJ set has all of the above. That means it’ll be a party in Miami when he’s at the decks.