Ultra Music Festival

A Celebration of Male Friendship, AKA the Bromance, at Ultra Miami

When was the last time you told your bro you loved him? Seriously. When was the last time you looked into his eyes, placed a hand gently on his quadriceps, and said, "Hey, man, I really care about you."

Male friendship is a complicated phenomenon. Taught from birth to internalize our more sentimental thoughts, bros — also known as man friends, dude partners, salami companions, and besties with testis — often find themselves unable to effectively articulate their true feelings in platonic relationships. Leave that to the ladies, we tell ourselves.

Well, bros, to that I say phooey. Phooey to this notion that being emotionally unavailable somehow makes you manly. Phooey to not telling those closest to you just how important they are in your life simply because they too have a dangling penis. Phooey to high-fives. Let's hug it out, bro.

In South Korea and other more enlightened parts of the world, it's not uncommon for two platonic male friends to walk down the street holding hands.

There's a wonderful book of photography by John Ibson called Picturing Men: A Century of Male Relationships in Everyday American Photography. The book is stuffed full of images of old-timey bros posing for the camera as they sit in each other's laps, hold hands, and engage in general snuggery. Back then, it was common for two bros to bro on down to the local photographer and have a "brotoshoot."

Those days are sadly gone. Or are they?

A funny thing happens at Ultra. As thousands converge on Bayfront Park, all sweaty and ecstatic, the emotional wall that divides bros starts to disintegrate, leaving behind two men unafraid to grab a spoon and scoop out a big mouthful of feelings from each other's most inaccessible regions.

It starts slowly. The beginning stages of a complete bronnectionbegins with a series of points. One bro points at the other. The other points back.

You're the man! No, you're the man!

Nay, bros. We're the man. Because though many define the term "bros" as plural, true bros are a single entity, woven together as one, bonded stronger with each Michelob Ultra.

After the pointing comes dancing. High-fives turn into pats on the back, and soon a hug forms, deep and long.

On more than one occasion this Ultra, we have witnessed tall bros helping out short bros by lifting them onto their shoulders (broulders?) to get a better view. Here's a brief list of the three most adorable acts of bro-ing we saw this weekend: 1.) Four bros making their way out of the dance floor, hands linked like elephant trunks, each one peeking back every few seconds to make sure no bros are left behind. 2.) Two bros sitting on a rock, one rubbing the other bro's back as he stared at the ground, clearly not feeling too hot. Suddenly, the ill bro tugs at his shirt, trying to take it off. Bro number one sees his bro's struggle to disrobe, and (in a totally hetero way, bro) helps him remove his T-shirt. 3.) Two bros rolling through the mulch, their lips dancing together as they engaged in a long, passionate kiss. 

That last pair might have been more than just bros, but you get the point. Male friendship is beautiful, and it thrives in the EDM community. Just scroll through the Instagram hashtag for #EDMBros and try — just try — not to pick up the phone and text your bro "sup?"

Ultra ended last night with a Pendulum reunion, four bros from Down Under who hadn't bro'ed out onstage in four years. To some, it was a celebration of a band's music. But there was another message hidden within Pendulum's set. Even if you do drift apart from your bros, reconciliation is possible. 

A bromance may look dead, but it's not. All it needs is a little bit of beer, some bright lights, and before you know it, it's alive again.
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Ryan Pfeffer is Miami New Times’ music editor. After earning a BS in editing, writing, and media from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor, where he coined the phrase "pee-tweet" (to retweet someone while urinating). Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, he’s now neck-deep in bass and booty in the 305.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer