It Really Was The ULTIMATE Music Experience: UME 2014 Review!
The fourth installment of Ultimate Music Experience took over Texas’ South Padre Island for the spring break party of a lifetime from March 13th-15th. The incredible lineup for UME 2014 ranged from local talents like Skootr Valdez and Gamma, all the to the way up to headliners Tiesto, Bassnectar and Zedd. The event was held at Schlitterbahn water park, and the stage was located in the drained wave pool. Throughout the day, thousands of spring-breakers spent their time on the beautiful beach, partying at the hotel pools, checking out local surf shops, or just taking in all that is South Padre Island. The Ultimate Music Experience festivities began around 6pm each night and continued on until 2am. Each night of UME was completely unique and absolutely filled to the brim with positive energy and good vibes.
Each of the three nights, thousands of attendees filled Schlitterbahn to see some of the biggest names in the EDM scene. The first night the lineup included Pegboard Nerds, Dyro, Carnage and Tiesto. Carnage had the crowd gettin’ down and dirty with his trap-tastic beats. His set was raw and dirty, and did not disappoint. I was worried Carnage wouldn’t be playing as much trap due to recent statements, but this was not the case – his trap reigned supreme at UME this year. The crowd was going absolutely nuts and getting down and jiggy. When he dropped his Spaceman Remix the venue exploded with fire, bubbles, and smoke – it was amazing! By the time Tiesto took to the stage the crowd had reached over 12,000 people – all waiting and ready to see him throw down. He did not disappoint, and the crowd was going crazy through the entire set. The first night concluded with a sweet firework display that could be seen down the island. Between the bubbles, fire, smoke, lasers and bass, there was always something going on. There was even a zip-line that I unfortunately did not have a chance to check out.
The second night had strong local support, and an epic main lineup – Kets N Krates, Paper Diamond, Zeds Dead, and Bassnectar! I was especially excited to catch the one and only Gamma from Austin, Texas! Gamma had the biggest crowd I had seen from a local artist, and because of this it seemed like the venue was even more packed by the time Keys N Krates took the stage. Keys N Krates started with a bang, and amazed us all with their LIVE performance! This is the only trap band I have seen in my life. They played hits like “Dum De Dum,” “Treat You Right,” and many others. They beautifully mixed a keyboard, drums, and turntable/mixing gear for an amazingly unique and enjoyable sound. Paper Diamond continued the night with his insane mixing skills, and heavy bass lines. His energy on stage was awesome, with him doing a good amount of his set at the very front of the stage – it was great! The crowd loved it and was moving the whole time. Next the amazing duo Zeds Dead began, and boy did they bring the bass. I had never seen these two live before, and they are now among my top 5 favorite artists . They absolutely destroyed Schlitterbahn and the crowd with their weebly wobbly bass beats. One of my favorites was “Ratchet Meow “- hilariously awesome and catchy! They had a long and solid set, and perfectly paved the way for the lord of bass himself: Bassnectar!
Bassnectar had an amazing intro and stage setup, and from the second he began playing the crowd knew it was bass-time. Many people didn’t realize, but this was the first show Bassnectar has played since New Years Eve in Tennessee. On top of this, he won’t be playing another show again until WAKA in June. So in other words, he was firing on all cylinders since he had been deprived of cranking out beats live for his fans to enjoy. He dropped classics like “Bass Head,” “Here We Go,” and threw down some “Va Va Voom” tracks as well. As always he absolutely killed it, and was full of energy and head-banging throughout his entire set. He ended with his famous family photo, where the lights go up and an epic wide shot of the entire crowd is taken. Check it out at end of this review… it turned out great! Night 2 was amazing to say the least.
Although sad it would be over soon, I was incredibly pumped for night 3. Finishing strong with Brazabelle, Sandro Silva, DJ Snake, and finally Zedd – I along with every EDM warrior there was ready to see what the last night would have in store for us. The stage setup was the biggest so far, sitting a few feet higher than previous nights and with more lights (which seems impossible). Brazzabelle took the stage first, she was the only female on the lineup and she fully held her own against the boys. Her set was one of my favorites, she put on an amazing show. Her beats were hard and fast, and the crowd was loving it. Her positive energy was awesome, she was smiling through her entire set. Subbing for BoysNoize who couldn’t make it this year, DJ Snake did a solid job filling in. He mixed well and sprinkled in multiple “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”s throughout his set, which the crowd went absolutely wild over. Check out the video of him below! After DJ Snake finished, the lights dimmed and the sound cut out – it was time for Zedd. Utilizing the entire epic stage and light setup, his set began with bright blue lights and soul-rattling sound. He started with the classics – “Follow You Down,” “Spectrum,” and “Lost At Sea”. Towards the end he mixed in his new hit “Stay The Night,” which everyone loved. At this point we had all the photos we needed, so we packed up our gear and put our dancing shoes on. We thoroughly enjoyed “Stay The Night,” and looked forward to his final song since it was almost 2am. Closing out UME 2014 with his massive single “Clarity” – which the crowd sang along with the entire time – I can not imagine a more beautiful way to end such an awesome, powerful event.
Aside from the music, this year’s Ultimate Music Experience had one of the friendliest crowds I have ever experienced. At one point we had the chance to chat with a sheriff up at the top of the stairs, looking out over the massive crowd. He told us that they had almost no issues whatsoever at this years event, and that it was actually pretty fun to be there – even if he didn’t fully understand all the outfits. The sheriff said that he would see people run into each other, expecting to have to rush down and break up a fight any second, only to see them apologize and fist bump before returning to the massive crowd. It was awesome to hear such positive words from a member of law enforcement, especially at such a large event.
Although UME 2014 is finished and in the books, the beat thumps on in our hearts and souls forever. UME is so much more than just a rave, or big music event – it’s a gathering of like-minded individuals that love the way this type of music makes them feel. This year I felt like I was surrounded by 12,000 of my best friends as the music and dance descended upon South Padre Island. The ones behind the scenes of UME truly outdid themselves this year and we thank them for such a positive atmosphere and experience. We will see you all next year, at Ultimate Music Experience 2015!
Check out our full official photo gallery here!
Check out some of our videos from the show:
Paper Diamond @ Ultimate Music Experience 2014 – South Padre Island
Bassnectar – “Break You Down” @ Ultimate Music Experience 2014 – South Padre Island
DJ Snake – “Turn Down for What” @ Ultimate Music Experience 2014 – South Padre Island