Fans had to endure a five-year hiatus as the group dissolved in 2013 and did not play together again until Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2018. Since the single show reconciliation last spring, the trickle of information laying out the trio’s long-awaited reunion has been a slow, tantalizing drip, with enigmatic posters appearing all over the world and extended countdowns surfacing online, signaling where the Mafia might appear next.
Dates in Ibiza, Mexico City, and a headlining slot at Creamfields this summer are already confirmed, and rumored appearances at Ultra’s Croatia stop and Tomorrowland are starting to piece together the group’s planned whereabouts—though now a stop in Seoul is the latest spot of speculation on Swedish House Mafia’s summer itinerary. However, with posters appearing in Split and Seoul back-to-back, Ultra appearances in both cities seem likely, though it is unclear if the posters confirm performances and if those performances are linked in any way. Details remain scarce for now, but the chances of Swedish House Mafia confirming a Seoul date in the near future now seems immanent.
Dog Blood is gearing up for a momentous return to Ultra Music Festival, the event largely considered to be their major festival debut back in 2013. Six years later, Skrillex and Boys Noize have Ultra in their sights once again, though this time fans in Miami will be treated to more than just their festival performance. LA-based events imprint Brownies & Lemonade is headed to Florida for Miami Music Week festivities, hosting a warehouse takeover at Mana Wynwood Warehouse on March 28, topped by none other than Dog Blood. Along with the “Middle Finger” duo, Anna Lunoe, A-Trak, Whethan, What So Not, 1788-L, and more are lined up for the event. Brownies & Lemonade is promising a night stocked with back-to-back performances, and surprise guests dropping in on the fly.
Beyond their Ultra booking, so far Skrillex and Boys Noize are slated to bring the acid to Buku Music + Arts Project and Sunset Music Festival. Performances from the duo are few and far between, and a warehouse set certainly doesn’t come around often. Brownies & Lemonade is preparing to throw one for the books, if you’re in Miami this spring, this one should not be missed.
A case of David and Goliath in the festival world has come to an end with the “big guy” on top. Rapture Electronic Music Festival‘s federal lawsuit against Ultra Music Festival (UMF) has been thrown out by a local judge, reports Your EDM. Rapture’s federal lawsuit followed the cease and desist warning that Rapture issued to Ultra in January. The official ruling in the case asserts, “‘[…] the Complaint fails on its face to plausibly allege any unlawful conspiracy or anticompetitive arrangement between Defendants. Plaintiff relies exclusively on conclusory allegations of conspiracy backed by no factual allegations whatsoever.’” Rapture may either amend or formally withdraw the complaint.
Rapture initially cited their possession of a signed, previously arranged agreement to use the Virginia Key land throughout 2020, but more specifically, from March 28-30, 2019, the very same dates that Ultra declared for its 2019 installment. Rapture referenced their application to host their own festival on Virginia Key, dated March 11, 2018. Rapture additionally paid a deposit to use the island from March 28-30. Needless to say, only one of the festivals can occupy Virginia Key.
“We have filed a federal lawsuit that will include an emergency injunction against Ultra, City of Miami and Virginia Key Beach Trust in order to return our location, claiming what is rightfully ours. At this point the future of Rapture at Virginia Key Beach Park is in the Federal judge’s hands. We have full trust in the federal system to obtain a fair judgement,” Rapture stated in a Facebook post. UMF coordinators responded to Rapture’s legal complaint in a press release that proclaims Rapture’s lawsuit to bear “no merit.”
The press release asserts that “Ultra lawfully secured its license to host its annual production on Virginia Key, including by obtaining necessary approvals from the City of Miami Commission.” “We are excited to present our fans with what will be the best and most transformative music festival that we have ever produced by way of music, artists, experience, cutting edge and technologically advanced production elements and novel art installations,” the press release concludes. Ultra’s full-length statement follows below, along with Rapture’s 19-page formal complaint:
FEBRUARY 2, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
There is no merit to yesterday’s lawsuit. To claim that Ultra has violated the law is both disappointing and misplaced. Ultra lawfully secured its license to host its annual production on Virginia Key, including by obtaining necessary approvals from the City of Miami Commission. We are excited to present our fans with what will be the best and most transformative music festival that we have ever produced by way of music, artists, experience, cutting edge and technologically advanced production elements and novel art installations. We look forward to hosting our 21st edition of the Ultra Music Festival at our new home at Miami Marine Stadium and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park on March 29, 30 and 31, 2019.
Many wondered where Ultra Music Festival would house itself in following its boot from its famed longtime home Bayfront Park. Though their transition to holding the event on the Miami-adjacent island of Virginia Key was rapid, this jump has not been without issues. Specifically, the move has ruffled the feathers of Rapture Electronic Music Festival, who have hosted their two day event at the historic island since 2017.
A house and techno-centric event, Rapture has now issued a cease and desist warning to Ultra Music Festival, demanding that Ultra stop applying for permits to use the island for their festival. Both festivals are set to occur on the same weekend, and Rapture notes that they had an agreement with the city to host the event on Virginia Key for three more years. Ultra, however, are going ahead with their organizing of the festival, as they need to have full plans showing that minimal environmental impact will come from moving the festival to the new, harder-to-reach location.
Though no solution or agreement has been reached as of yet, Rapture may have some help from local supporters. Scientists from the University of Miami note that the bass from Ultra’s massive soundsystems could disturb fish in the Virginia Key facility, while other activists suggest that precautions be taken to protect the local birds, manatees, and wetlands. With a mountain of red tape on Ultra’s path to Virginia Key, and a legal battle with an entertainment giant coming forth for Rapture, it is uncertain which festival will wind up with the coveted location.
It has now been revealed that Ron Lafitte of Patriot Management will be taking Thomson’s reins in working with the trio moving forward. Lafitte started his career working in heavy metal with the likes of Metallica and Megadeth. He now oversees everyone from Pharrell Williams and OneRepublic, to the Backstreet Boys. The dance titans have not announced a label deal as of yet, but it has all but been confirmed that they are working on new music.
W&W confirmed what most have likely suspected for months: Swedish House Mafia (SHM) are sitting on a store of unreleased music. These unheard productions, however, won’t remain locked away for long, according to the Dutch duo. “We actually talked to Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso about the Swedish House Mafia reunion,” W&W constituent, William van Hanegem stated on the last installment of W&W’s radio show, “Rave Culture.” “They said they’ve got lots of new music coming,” van Hanegem added.
Swedish House Mafia fans will presumably exhale an impassioned “finally” upon hearing van Hanegem’s affirmation that fresh SHM material is not only in the works, but on the way. The trio have long kept listeners on the edges of their seats, taunting those who’ve kept up with the group’s activity with singular tour date announcements, revealed city by individual city. That new Swedish House Mafia music hovers on the horizon indicates that the dance Goliaths are one step closer to the full-fledged reinstatement that fans have lusted over since the group’s landmark reunion at Ultra Music Festival 2018.
If 2018 has proven anything, it’s that Martin Garrix cannot be stopped. The producer has continued his stream of chart topping crossover releases — he put out a 5-track club ready progressive EP, and he teamed up with unexpected subway singer Mike Yung for a gospel-inspired “Dreamer,” proving that the young beatmaker isn’t letting celebrity get in the way of creativity, in terms of breaking the EDM mold.
While Garrix himself has seen considerable success in 2018, his label STMPD RCRDS has gone from just finding its footing to a blooming powerhouse of a label in just a little more than a year. After hosting stages at Tomorrowland, Balaton Sound, and having a label night during Amsterdam Dance Event, in 2019 STMPD RCRDS will be hosting a stage at Ultra Music Festival for the first time. The STMPD RCRDS Stage will feature label frequenters Matisse & Sadko, TV Noise, Lost Frequencies, Junior Sanchez, Brooks, and of course, Garrix himself. Hosting a stage at Ultra will continue to build on the label’s continued success, and this showcases that STMPD is a force to be reckoned with after hosting a stage at one of the most prestigious festivals in the world.
Martin Garrix put up a year for the books in 2018, and with a full stage secured at Ultra next year, it looks like he’ll be continuing his hot streak into 2019.
Ultra Music Festival is going to be hard pressed to top last year’s Miami edition, but with the delivery of 2019’s first phase lineup it looks like the festival is aiming to do just that. This year’s event of course included Swedish House Mafia‘s not-so-secret headlining reunion and it was the last edition to be held at the festival’s longtime home at Bayfront Park. Now, with the move to Virginia Key, Ultra is pulling out all the stops, starting with a top-notch lineup that’s teeming with talent.
Presenting the Phase 1 Lineup for the 21st edition of Ultra Music Festival!
This year, get ready for a BRAND NEW immersive experience at #Ultra2019 featuring extended sets, later hours, expanded festival grounds and top-tiered DJs & live performances!! pic.twitter.com/lqtEn96wu1
In late September, news surfaced that Ultra Music Festival had been booted from its longtime home at Bayfront Park. It didn’t take long for the event organizers to propose a new host venue about ten minutes away on Virginia Key, and on November 15, the Miami City Council brought the proposal to an official vote. Even amid contentious opposition from Rapture Music Festival and residents of Key Biscayne, the vote passed — officially moving Ultra to a new home for the first time since 2001.
After more than three hours of heated deliberation, Miami Marine Stadium and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Virginia Key became the new host venue for Ultra Music Festival. The vote ended 4-1 in favor of the move, though the decision ultimately came down to two council members on the edge of a “yes” vote. The two year deal does include some contingencies — there’s the possibility of revocation within 60 days after the 2019 festival if certain circumstances occur. What’s more, Ultra has to pay $2 million to the city of Miami in order to sell up to 60,000 tickets to the festival.
But perhaps the grass will be greener in Virginia Key as Ultra opens a new chapter in the festival’s illustrious history. We’ll see come March, 2019.
The going has certainly been tough for the internationally celebrated Ultra Miami to obtain new stomping grounds after the city stripped it of its longtime Bayfront Park housing this past September. The tumultuous process has reached new levels of discord after the Mayor-Elect of Key Biscayne Mike Davey issued the festival and its organizers some overtly captious remarks, characterizing it as a potential “disaster.” Ultra has recently zeroed in on Virginia Key—which is adjacent to Biscayne—as a potential dwelling place for its 2019 installment, hence the resentment.
Davey assigns his scruples with Ultra’s intended move-in to environmental impacts, a likely traffic influx, and “an increase in alcohol and drug-related violence.” Ultra organizers issued a lengthy response repudiating these accusations.
It is deeply regrettable that Mayor-Elect, Mike Davey and the Village of Key Biscayne have elected to publish statements that are knowingly false and misleading rather than to first seek to collaborate with either Ultra representatives or its City of Miami partners (if for no other purpose but to gather accurate facts and to gain an understanding of Ultra’s commitment and obligations respecting, traffic mitigation and environmental and historical preservation planning).
The statement tackles the delivery of the Davey-narrated public announcement, which Ultra affiliates have contended is misleading and inaccurate in its entirety. Ultra spokesperson, Ray Martinez went so far as to say it, “potentially criminalizes [Ultra’s] patrons.”
By opting to instead circulate what appears to be primarily stock photos (unrelated to Ultra) featuring used needles, polluted shorelines, traffic gridlock, by falsely and intentionally reporting that potentially hundreds of thousands of attendees will be converging on the Rickenbacker Causeway and by falsely stating that the City of Miami had purportedly evicted Ultra for environmental destruction, increased alcohol and drug-related violence, safety risks and by reporting other untruths is blatantly disreputable.
In the video, Davey also alludes to his concern for the sanctity of Virginia Key’s unique historical significance, and the potential harm he believes the festival could bring to the Key’s beachfront, specifically. It should be noted, however, Ultra has and continues to consult environmental authorities, civil engineers, and conservation experts in order to assess and subsequently mediate the event’s potential impact on its surroundings.
Davey isn’t alone in his scrutiny of the festival either, as Ultra already received thorough contest from the Virginia Key villagers after organizers released a draft of agreement plans for venue proceedings. An official vote on Ultra’s move to Virginia Key is slated for Nov 15.
Read Ultra’s full statement below:
It is deeply regrettable that Mayor-Elect, Mike Davey and the Village of Key Biscayne have elected to publish statements that are knowingly false and misleading rather than to first seek to collaborate with either Ultra representatives or its City of Miami partners (if for no other purpose but to gather accurate facts and to gain an understanding of Ultra’s commitment and obligations respecting, traffic mitigation and environmental and historical preservation planning). By opting to instead circulate what appears to be primarily stock photos (unrelated to Ultra) featuring used needles, polluted shorelines, traffic gridlock, by falsely and intentionally reporting that potentially hundreds of thousands of attendees will be converging on the Rickenbacker Causeway and by falsely stating that the City of Miami had purportedly evicted Ultra for environmental destruction, increased alcohol and drug-related violence, safety risks and by reporting other untruths is blatantly disreputable. The offending publication(s) by Mayor-Elect, Mike Davey and the Village of Key Biscayne is patently false and inaccurate and was made with reckless disregard of the truth. “It unfairly disparages our brand and potentially criminalizes our patrons,” says Ray Martinez, Ultra’s spokesperson. The publications made by the Mayor-Elect are believed to be defamatory, as are the horrendous images that were published in an effort to purportedly inflame and scare residents and stakeholders. Ultra condemns this conduct and cautions that such leadership is irresponsible and wrongful on multiple factual and legal grounds including that the disturbing images were not associated with the Ultra Music Festival brand.