Having experienced four consecutive Ultra Music Festivals in a row, I decided to take a different route this year. Personally, I am just a little tired of waiting in long entry lines and long bathroom lines, standing in over-packed stages while ending my weekend with a nose full of dirt and a lifetime’s worth of energy sucked out of me. Instead, I chose to attend No Sugar Added, a two-day music festival held at Nikki Beach in South Beach.
If you aren’t already familiar with Nikki Beach, it is one of Miami’s most prestigious beach clubs fit with white beds, fantastic food, unforgettable Mojitos, and awesome music. Come Miami Music Week, this lavish day club is transformed into a nesting ground for the biggest and best parties in South Beach. Spinnin Records throws down their annual pool party every year with guests like R3hab, Martin Garrix, and Sander van Doorn. However, leave it to the crew over at DiskoLab to put on an epic two-day EDM extravaganza that trumps any other pool party.
The venue houses a huge outdoor stage on the facility’s beach side right on the sand. A large tent covers the entire stage area, shading the dedicated ragers in the center and those lounging on white beds sipping their ice-chilled vodka and world-famous Nikki Beach Mojitos. About an hour after sunset, a brand new party starts inside the facilities for those who have “All Access” passes.
The downstairs featured a smaller lounge with a normal size escalated DJ booth in the corner of the room. The top floor featured a more than impressive layout, decked with white chic sofas and lounge chairs, center bar, and a fairly large stage with two VIP sections located on both sides of the DJ booth. Following each set, expect to see your favorite DJ walk right passed you.
No Sugar Added’s 2-day lineup was absolutely STACKED with premier artists, and the partying didn’t stop until 5:00 a.m. . Heavyweights such us Tommy Trash and Thomas Gold headlined the main stage on opposing nights. The Trash Stage on Friday night had artists like Henry Fong, Chris Lake, Dyro, and obviously the Trash Man himself, with Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano taking the second to last spot. Saturday night brought us the Generation Wild stage, with 3LAU, Deniz Koyu, MAKJ. Bass Jackers, Danny Avila, and Thomas Gold as the headliner, and that wasn’t even the full list of either stage…
While most “smaller” festivals would be all set with a lineup like that, NSA had a plethora of other artists finishing the night. With so many big names, I’ll give you my top favorites: Vicetone, Arty, Lucky Date, with Myon and Shane 54 on Friday night, and The Chainsmokers, Audien, Cash Cash, TJR, and Tritonal on Saturday night. (check out the full lineup below)
There were a few sets that stood out to me most, and I cant help but share them with you:
Logan Brooks Freedman – www.happy-elephant.org
These guys are just fantastic, full of life, full of love, and always accepting applications to become a Triotnian. With a heavy, energy driven progressive sound, the boys from Austin deliver time after time and have given us hits like “The Bullet that Saved Me”, “Now or Never”, and their brand new remix of Zedd’s “Find You”, that honestly tops the rest… They began their set with a perfect mash-up of Lush and Simon’s “City of Lights” with the vocals of the favorite 90’s sing-along track, “Wonderwall”. Perfect way to start off a set… Banger after banger and we find ourselves at the end. And what do we get? Their unreleased remix of Hardwell’s “Dare You”. They seem to be on a path to the top, so take my word for it and start filling out your application for Tritonia.
This man right here has everything going for him right now. Given his meteoric rise over the past few years, I was absolutely stoked to here him throw down live. He dropped hits like “Ode to Oi”, and “Whats Up Suckaz” that made their way into almost every set I’ve seen over the past year. His one-hour set left me hungry for more, since I could never get enough of his funky-bouncy sound and glaring smile from the DJ booth.. He tore the place up with some unreleased ID’s, and finished with a mashup of Alesso’s “Calling” and Moguai’s “CHAMPS”, that no doubt made me feel like one.
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Mr. Nate Rathburn, more commonly referred to as Audien. He is a favorite amongst the elite of the industry, most importantly Above and Beyond, who give his music an immense amount of well-deserved attention. First and foremost, they chose his track “Wayfarer” to lead off the first ever Group Therapy Radio. To top that off, they chose his unreleased track “Hindsight” to start their Ultra set this past weekend. Audien brings overcharged progressive-trance to the next level, and sticks to a perfected formula that he applies to each and every one of his tracks: his instrumental and vocal driven originals, his progressive and electro tracks, and don’t forget his remixes, such as his brand new top of the charts remix of “Pompeii” that has gained widespread attention since its release. He found his edge in 2012, he put it on full display during 2013, and will now unleash his full potential in 2014. Get ready, because this phenom from the suburbs of Connecticut is here to stay!
My recap only gives you a glimpse of what No Sugar Added fully brings to the table. By all means, go and check out Ultra if you can. When you feel like stepping the class up a notch, head on over the bridge to Nikki Beach where you can experience a completely different type of festival at half the cost and double the fun. I can’t wait to attend next year.. and I'm 100% sure No Sugar Added will find a way to step it up once again.