The elite of electronic dance music have been congregating at the Winter Music Conference in Miami for the past 26 years, but this year’s festival promises to be the biggest one yet, thanks to the genre’s rise in mainstream popularity. The event’s climax is the massive three-day Ultra Music Festival, which kicks off on March 23rd and features a lineup of well-established EDM titans, including Tiësto, Kraftwerk, Justice and Avicii, Skrillex and David Guetta. Here are 10 more artists worth checking out:
Knife Party – Featuring members of the underrated drum and bass band Pendulum, Knife Party are in line to become the next stars of the scene after a SXSW appearance that had audiences clamoring for their techno-leaning dubstep. The duo already has a viral hit with “Internet Friends,” on which a robotic female voice issues an absurd warning: “You blocked me on Facebook; now you’re going to die.”
Mark Farina – This veteran DJ, who is from San Francisco by way of Chicago, spans several genres including house, acid jazz and downtempo. He’ll be playing several gigs throughout the week, but try to catch him at Om Records’ event, where he’ll share the stage with the also stellar Colette.
Bingo Players – The Dutch duo has been around since 2006, but they only just hit their stride in the last year with tracks like “Rattle,” “When I Dip” and “Cry (Just a Little),” which samples Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark.” They’re also in-demand remixers, having created notable ones for Flo Rida and Cobra Starship, among others.
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Carl Cox – A revered figure in the dance music scene, Cox has been dazzling crowds for more than two decades with his genre versatility and rising, euphoric crescendoes. Catching Cox in Miami is, in subcultural terms, roughly equivalent to seeing McCartney at Coachella or Springsteen at Bonnaroo.
Porter Robinson – The 19-year-old North Carolina wunderkind has become one of the fastest rising names in the EDM world for his association with Tiësto, who took Robinson on his College Life tour last year, and Skrillex, who signed him to his OWLSA label. With friends like that, Robinson is essentially on track to headline Ultra in 2013.
Bloody Beetroots –The Beetroots started out as a solo project for Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, but they’ve since grown to be an explosive dance-punk act. Rifo wears his punk roots as a badge of honor, to the point of having ‘1977’ tattooed on his chest in honor of the year it broke. He’s also become a popular remixer in the rock world, tackling tunes by the likes of Metallica, the Killers and Refused.
Treasure Fingers – While most of the acts at Ultra will be playing dubstep, New Yorker Ashley Jones will proudly hold it down for old-school disco. Best known for the hit “Cross the Dancefloor,” Treasure Fingers make the kind of shimmering beats that bridge the gap between today’s EDM and Giorigo Moroder.
Dubfire – Dubfire is the latest alias of Ali Shirazinia, best known for his work as part of Deep Dish. His new project is more hard-edged techno, but Shirazinia remains a proven commodity in the clubs and at festivals.
Datsik – Datsik has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in dubstep, thanks to hits like “Nuke ‘Em,” “Fire Power” and “Southpaw.” He’s notched seven chart-toppers on the influential dance site Beatport, but his performance at the Winter Music Conference could determine whether he’s ready to step up to the next level.
Little Dragon – This Swedish electro-R&B act fronted by Yukimi Nagano has built a sizable following with critically-acclaimed albums like last year’s Ritual Union and collaborations with Gorillaz and DJ Shadow. They’ll stand out as one of the few proper bands at the festival and will likely impress audiences on the strength of their grooves.