Photo by George Martinez
Those who rave presumably adhere to the values of PLUR: peace, love, unity, respect.
While attending Ultra Music Festival, we wondered if the fans' philosophical perspectives were broader than those four words. And also, had they, in their PLUR-verse, uncovered answers to existence's most puzzling questions? Were they simply nihilists in tutus, Christians in neon thongs? Or were they hauling around a map to the collective unconscious in their fanny packs?
Just like Monty Python did in that 1983 masterpiece, we bravely set out to explore the meaning of life, with high hopes of scoring the recipe for the universe. Here are the musings of Ultra's deepest thinkers on matters of the afterlife, existence, and how that all relates to dance music.
This raver hails all the way from Amsterdam. He arrived in a car filled with muscles to wear those cool-ass sunglasses in a roll-icking sea of strangers. We started out by asking him what he thought happened after death. "Not much. It's the same like now. It's just one vibe."
And what about being at Ultra stood out for him? The energy, the feeling of togetherness? "See all the snipers everywhere, that's fucked up, man. And they're dressed up like pigeons." And then this foreign bro cooed in street bird fashion.
This local lady was more than eager to address our superdeep queries. "I think the meaning of life is to help each other out, dude. I think we're all put here as a whole. It wasn't like one fucking person who came here. We're supposed to make it easier for each other. Have a good time."
And how can we maximize all that powerful energy? "Dude, be good to each other. What's all this shit that we have if we can't be good to each other?!"
We wondered what this longtime raver thought about Ultra and how it fits into the larger scheme of things. "It's gotten a little shallower. People don't really go for the connections, they go to take drugs and stuff," she concedes. "But being out here, everyone's joined by the music. We all come out here and agree that that shit touches us, so that's what we're here for. We're together to enjoy that shit as one."
Can we get an amen?
Carlos Bello, AKA Chicken Man or El Pollo Loco, is a sober yet stimulating staple at all Miami music fests. He arrives ready to rave and in full feather armor.
"Happiness, above all," is what's important to him in life. "Making sure I take each day one day at a time. I try not to worry, because in the end, it's just temporary and most things don't really matter as long as you're happy."
Not worrying seems a Sisyphean task! How does he manage that? "I try my hardest. When you're surrounded by great people, it's hard to be worried." But at the same time, he is a bit nihilistic about the afterlife. "To be honest, I don't think anything happens. You die, you die. Whatever you did on this earth stays, and you're gone."
And what he's leaving behind is El Pollo Loco: "It's my legacy!"
The Wise Man
This cute hippy guy was carting around his girlfriend's hoops, a blue tail swinging between his legs. A fan of dubstep, he'd busted his brow while headbanging. But surprisingly, considering that preference for aggressive electronic music, he insists the most important thing in life is "joy at all times." And what gives him joy is "everything, life, humanity, hope, faith." And Ultra, he says, provides a life force through unity. "Everyone comes together and it gives us hope."
But what about the bad things that come along in life though? Not everything can give him joy, right? He admits, sagely, "You win some you lose some."
"My teacher told us that the meaning of life is to live." The lovely local raver on the left revealed. Quite a simple approach to the big affair.
So how does UMF fits into the cosmic web? "It just brings out the best in people," the raver to her right believes. "It helps you breathe, and do whatever you want."
And definitely the PLUR was strong in that one. "It's all about peace, love, unity, and respect," she insists. "Everyone coming together and being able to listen to music and express ourselves."
Though these Brooklyn natives living in Miami were rocking costumes of the extreme Mexican sort, they embraced a deep convo more than many others.
"I guess in a way, we're all one," the raver on the left muses. And his friend notes, "It's all about loving each other, that's pretty much the point of Ultra."
"Life is just positive energy," Lefty suggests. "Things moving in the right direction. We're these evolved beings that came from space dust and particles. It's all about people being together and having a good time. And it's more than that ... Peace on earth."
Ultimately, though, they were at Ultra for the music. "It makes you forget about life's regular problems. That is what this is for."
All in all, it seems the ravers agree with Eric Idle's words in the final scene of Life of Brian: "If life seems jolly rotten/There's something you've forgotten/And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing."
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