Throwback: Revisit Avicii’s genre-blurring performance at Ultra Music Festival 2013
Ultra Music Festival is upon us, and what better of a time than now to revisit one of the most boundary-pushing and genre-bending performances to have ever taken place at the festival? Avicii headlined the main stage at Ultra Music Festival for the first time in 2012, bringing out none other than Madonna to open his performance. As he reclaimed the headlining spot in 2013, expectations were high after his “Levels” and “Seek Bromance”-filled 2012 set.
Tim Bergling (Avicii) was known at the time for bringing electronic music to the mainstream, but 2013 was the beginning of his true experimentation on one of the world’s biggest stages—literally and figuratively—for an electronic music artist. The set has now gone down in history as one of the performances that have helped to solidify him as a musical genius and a true artistic innovator. Bergling complemented his euphoria-inducing progressive songs with a collection of country, rock, and soul artists, whom he featured in album True. He brought to the stage country legend Mac Davis, bluegrass musician Dan Tyminski, singer Audra Mae, soul artist Aloe Blacc, Incubus guitarists Mike Einziger and Ben Kenney, and Incubus drummer Jose Pasillis II.
Bergling spoke to Dancing Astronaut in 2013 about the performance, stating, “It’s about how to incorporate acoustic instruments from different styles and influences you wouldn’t expect and still stay true to your own sound and musicality, which for me has always been about the melodies and positive energy.”
Bringing country musicians on stage at Ultra was not simply unexpected, but in many cases, unwanted. Cross-genre collaborations are inherent to expanding one’s artistry in 2019, but it is this performance that began a shift of mentality at the time. Bergling took the reactions in stride, and continued to innovate and broaden the reach of not only his own music, but the reach of the genre as a whole.
Photo credit: Rukes