Will Swedish House Mafia reunite for Ultra’s 20th anniversary?

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There’s been no shortage of chatter over another possible Swedish House Mafia reunion since Ultra released their 2018 line-up last month. What a more opportune time after all than UMF’s upcoming twentieth anniversary edition, held in Miami’s Bayfront Park during March. In fact, if last year is any indication, it seems reunion rumors are becoming imminent during this time.


So why always with the hype? 

When EDM pioneers Swedish House Mafia bid their final farewell at Ultra Miami 2013, the trio opened a speculative can of worms for when they might one day return to the stage. As festival season officially kicks off in March with Ultra at the helm, this year has reignited the SHM rumor mill. Indeed, there have been several happenings hinting at what would be a monumental reunion to be sure. The first and most obvious indication is the appearance of Axwell Λ Ingrosso on the 2018 bill, which naturally evoked fan chatter that Steve Angello would somehow jump out of a cake on stage. However outlandish and unlikely, the speculation comes alongside the fact that SHM recently wiped its Twitter account clean, spurring Billboard to stir rumors that a reunion was on the books for 2018, according to sources close to the publication. Additionally, Steve Angello began following Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso separately on Twitter last month. But the most concrete evidence to a SHM return lays in a statement with Ultra CEO Russell Faibisch, who was recently named Magnetic Magazine‘s Industry Person of the Year. The honor came with an exclusive interview in which Faibisch spoke vaguely to this year’s special anniversary appearances,

“…something very big is in the works! Every year we pride ourselves on delivering for our fans special unannounced performances and surprises. But for the big 20th Anniversary, we knew we had to deliver something huge. Something unique that can only be seen at Ultra. It is completely under wraps. The only thing I can say is to Expect The Unexpected.”


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So will a SHM reunion actually happen?

It’s possible, but highly unlikely. If these are in fact the only signs of a possible return, the responsible reaction to a reunion need be a highly skeptical one at best. There is also plenty of evidence to negate the trio’s return to the stage. First, Steve Angello won’t even be in the US during the time of Ultra 2018, which not only rules out chances of a SHM reunion, but any appearance during Miami Music Week at all. According to YourEDM, Angello confirmed to a fan in a DM that he is booked for gigs in Asia during the latter part of March. Second, when Billboard speculated a 2018 SHM return, the group’s longtime manager Amy Thomson categorically denied the news via Twitter. Third, while a possible SHM reunion seems inevitable, right now just isn’t the right time. While the group remain good friends, let us remember the trio originally disbanded five years ago because they felt what they were doing was artistically empty. As Angello told HuffPost,

“I think we felt like it had become a very big machine. I think the pressure … It just wasn’t having fun anymore. It was this humongous monster. We felt like tired.”

Thus, the possibility of an SHM reunion seems inevitable on the longer horizon. The moment can and will happen when Ingrosso, Angello, and Axwell collectively feel creatively compelled to create something substantively meaningful — sans any big anniversary line-ups, financial motivation, or commercial gain. As art should be.


So then, what’s the big surprise?

Several fan hypotheses have popped up on r/UMF over more practical predictions as to what we might expect from a twentieth anniversary line-up that says to “expect the unexpected.” First, there’s been speculation over long time friend Alesso joining Axwell and Ingrosso for some sort of SHM offshoot performance. Another possibility is the return of Avicii, as the star made his meteoric return to dance music just this past year. Additionally, Jack Ü is another likely performance to expect, since the duo comprised of Diplo and Skrillex made their debut at Ultra 2014. With Hardwell and Armin van Buuren’s huge b2b performance as Two Is One taking place at Amsterdam Music Festival 2017, hopes have also been high over a follow up performance among Ultra fans.

Swedish_House_Mafia

It’s difficult to determine the many possibilities Ultra has in store for 2018. While the evidence to a SHM reunion seems bleak in the eyes of some, yet hopeful in the eyes of others, we find that speculation leads to expectation, and expectation leads to disappointment. To let go of expectation is to be content with whatever outcome Ultra Music Festival has in store for their 20th anniversary festival.

 

Photo credit: Jordan Lloyd

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Breaking: Petition to boot ULTRA from Miami gains traction

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Known as the seminal EDM event that has established a strong global presence for Miami, Ultra Music Festival is nearing it’s contract expiration with Miami’s Bayfront Park Management Trust.

A newly formed coalition of Bayfront residents, with a heavy collective financial hand, are petitioning the city to deny the renewal of ULTRA‘s contract — a festival that has brought hundreds of thousands of dance music fans together for over 15 years.

The petition is being circulated by the Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA), a group that has also demanded the city crack down on noise at clubs in the 24-hour entertainment district. The group says it’s interests lay solely with those of a growing class of residents in the heart of the city.

The petition, which is nearing 1,100 signatures, was delivered yesterday to Commissioner Frank Carollo at the monthly meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The Miami Herald referred to the move as merely the “latest salvo” in the growing feud between downtown’s residential community and its entertainment scene, which have had conflicting interests since the city’s recent condo and apartment tower boom.

In fact, the petition goes as far as to request bans on all music-related events in Bayfront Park, including the hip-hop festival, Rolling Loud.

We, the residents of Downtown Miami and its neighboring communities deserve to have daily access to Bayfront Park – our neighborhood park…Instead, since the beginning of 2017, Bayfront Park has been closed to the public or in a state of disrepair for over 100 days because of mega-concerts like Ultra and Rolling Loud.

The neighbor alliance vows that it is no enemy of nightlife, citing their dedication to community service, education, and a focus on the needy in their neighborhood.

Ultimately, it would be impossible to dispute the downtown resident’s complaints. Yet, as the Miami New Times rightly points out, it remains difficult not to wonder: What exactly did you think downtown Miami was like before you moved in? 

Downtown is not Miami Shores. It’s not Kendall. Like every major metropolitan center, it’s a big, busy, crazy, loud space that serves as a civic hub for the 2.7 million people who live in Miami-Dade County. There are tradeoffs to living in the middle of all that. An exciting, walkable lifestyle with gorgeous views of the bay, by necessity, comes with some noise, traffic, and general annoyance…Residents who bought downtown condos knew exactly what they were bargaining for when they signed their contracts.

But EDM enthusiasts and nightlife financial backers have recently fired back on the petition group’s Facebook page. Over all, UMF brings in a $79 million positive economic impact on South Florida.

In an age where “cash is king,” it will be interesting and unsurprising if the city rules in favor of Ultra Miami.

H/T Miami New Times, Curbed Miami, Miami Herald

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