Now that Ultra Music Festival has confirmed its return back to Bayfront after its 2019 outing to Virginia Key Beach Park, the festival has started to drop 2020 festival news, heightening the excitement for the festival’s return. In September, Ultra unveiled its 2020 promotional theme, “We Return Home,” and now organizers have announced that for the first time, NGHTMRE and SLANDER‘s label Gud Vibrations will takeover the UMF Radio Stage.
NGHTMRE and SLANDER have played Gud Vibrations shows together at Ultra festivals across the world, but this will be the first time the label will take over a stage at the Miami iteration of the festival series. In Ultra’s announcement of the label takeover, they promise the stage will showcase “high-energy bass.”
It has yet to be seen whether NGHTMRE and SLANDER will perform as separate acts on the Gud Vibrations stage, together, or whether they will do both a separate and joint performance to celebrate their label’s takeover. Gud Vibrations has curated some of the scene’s best bass music as of late, including enlisting Habstrakt for his label debut with “De La Street.” WAVEDASH and Shadient are other frequenters of the label. Time will tell which acts will be featured on the stage, but the announcement certainly builds the anticipation for Ultra’s forthcoming lineup announcements.
Ultra’s first foray into Australian territory took place during its Road To Ultra series in 2018. The following year, the megafestival officially touched down in Sydney and Melbourne. Its debut run down under proved an overwhelming success, setting up its return for March 2020. Now, the first wave of artists for both Sydney and Melbourne have been revealed.
Eric Prydz will be performing twice at each event, once as himself and once under his darker Cirez D alias. The progressive house leader recently announced he’d be honoring his deceased superfan, James Lillo, in taking his ashes along with him for the journey. Lillo passed away from cancer not long after his diagnosis in 2016, inspiring Prydz to name a song after him.
Other talents making up Ultra Australia’s first phase billing include veterans DJ Snake, Zedd, Afrojack, and Dash Berlin, along with some house and techno representation from UMEK, Luciano, and Deborah De Luca. Tickets are available here.
The global expansion of Ultra Music Festival will continue in 2020 with an extensive tour that will see the renowned event travel to new parts of the world, as well as previous locations with a brand new look and feel.
For the first time ever, Ultra will land in the Middle East for Ultra Abu Dhabi on March 5-6, 2020. The oceanfront setting of this luxury vacation destination will be a return to the familiar for the festival that has held its flagship festival on the beaches of Miami for over two decades. More details surrounding this inaugural event will be available soon on ultra-abudhabi.com.
Immediately following Abu-Dhabi, Ultra returns to India after a three-year hiatus for Ultra India: Hyderabad & New Delhi on March 7-8, 2020. Back in 2017, Ultra hosted the first two performances of The Chainsmokers in India. One in Mumbai and the other in New Delhi. Now, they will add another stamp to their extensive passport with their first-ever event in Hyderabad.
These tour stops on the continent of Asia represent only a fraction of what’s coming up for Ultra Worldwide next year. The festival will return to Africa for events in Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as Australia for Sydney and Melbourne. View the graphic below for the full tour schedule and note that it only covers February and March. Keep your eyes on Dancing Astronaut for more intercontinental iterations of Ultra Music Festival.
After creating quite the rumor circuit about the location of the 2020 iteration of the festival, Ultra Music Festival finally confirmed its return to Bayfront Park through its Miami 2020 trailer. The theme is naturally “we return home,” after the festival’s 2019 outing to Virginia Key Beach Park.
The City of Miami Commission voted to deny the festival a new five-year agreement at Bayfront Park in 2018, ultimately forcing the longstanding event to Virginia Key for its 2019 iteration. After a rocky start resulting in festival attendees having to walk miles to the mainland on day one, Ultra understandably received a sizable backlash from attendees. Organizers considered relocating the 2020 version out of Miami altogether, but the city council, to the relief of many, voted in favor of Ultra reprising its original home base.
The trailer shows highlights of Ultra from years past, and enlists Martin Garrix‘s “Home” as the backdrop—begging the question of whether or not the artist has already confirmed for the upcoming bacchanale. Ultra Music Festival will be held on March 20-22, and tickets will go on sale on September 24 here.
Miami—Ultra Music Festival is coming home. After tumultuous back-and-forth concerning the future of Ultra Miami’s venue, the beloved music festival will officially return to Bayfront Park in 2020. This past year, Ultra faced difficulties adjusting to its relocated host venue on Virginia Key Beach including stranded attendees, marine life impact, and other logistical issues that led to heated reactions from city officials and festival-goers alike. Despite the backlash and Ultra disclosing a voluntary termination of their license, the City of Miami ultimately voted to allow the festival to return to Bayfront Park.
Ultra 2020 will take place March 20-22. Ticket registration is now open here.
Ultra officially announced its dates for the upcoming year on July 30, a week earlier than previous years and undeniably to ramp up anticipation for its big homecoming. In 2020, Ultra will also bring back their ‘Mission: Home‘ sustainability and environmental initiative.
Recently, Ultra Music Festival announced they will extend their ‘Mission: Home’ initiative that is dedicated to decreasing the environmental impact of the festival to all future events. This news comes just as they delivered a report on the success of the initiative pertaining to the latest edition of Ultra Miami this past March.
A “leave no trace” policy, a decrease in the amount of single-use plastics, and an enhanced recycling program were just a few of the factors involved in this comprehensive campaign.
After a hectic 2018 that included the severance of their contract with Bayfront Park, Ultra was determined to demonstrate their commitment to the city of Miami as they searched for a new venue. Upon securing Virginia Key, Ultra launched the ‘Mission: Home’ initiative to prove the sustainability of the festival long-term. And even though the event voluntarily left Virginia Key, the results of the initiative were very impressive.
“We are happy to announce that our ‘Mission: Home’ sustainability initiatives including our Leave No Trace policy, single-use plastic reduction efforts, and recycling program will continue in 2020 and beyond,” Vivian Belzaguy, Ultra’s senior manager of sustainability, said in a statement.
Ultra 2019 earned an “A” on a report card compiled by VolunteerCleanup.org, Surfrider Miami and Debris Free Oceans. The “Mission: Home” initiatives prevented the use of 526,000 single-use plastic items. The entirety of their recycling loads was accepted by the recycling centers in the area, and 31% of the waste created during the event was diverted from landfills. See the full extent of the success of this initiative via the infographic below.
As more news of the rapidly declining health of our climate surfaces, the sustainability of these enormous music events comes more into question. Ultra is one of the most prominent event promoters on Earth, hosting massive events on six continents. With the success of the “Mission: Home” initiative, they are setting a positive example for promoters around the world that these events can adapt to a shifting environmental landscape.
Since his inaugural debut production dating back to 2008, Hardwell has unequivocally cemented himself among an extremely select class of industry A-listers. The Dutchman initially drew electronic dance music fans in via heart-pounding and dynamic live performances at some of the planet’s most renowned music festivals. He’s since been extensively credited as one of the forefront pioneers of the bigroom house genre with not only his own music, but his main stage appearances where he incorporates never-before-heard creations from a multitude of artists.
Hardwell stunned the dance music world in early Spetember 2018 with the announcement that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from touring life in order to focus on his health and personal endeavors. The message arrived as a bittersweet moment, but fans were more than understanding and respected his decision—especially following the passing of Avicii earlier in the year after he faced extensive mental health obstacles.
While Hardwell continues to spend his much-needed and well-deserved off period in his hometown of Breda, we endlessly reminisce about the historic occasions of his mind-numbing mainstage appearances throughout each and every festival season. During the final performance at his Symphony event at Amsterdam Dance Event alongside the Metropole Orkest, Hardwell addressed the Dutch crowd with a tear-jerking farewell speech that concluded with “I will be back!” To hold us over until that eventual day does arrive, we attempted reduce his illustrious DJ tenture into just five of his most distinguished moments.
Sunset Performance at Ultra Music Festival 2013
Hardwell’s performance at Ultra Music Festival in 2013, which Dancing Astronaut labeled as ‘the unanimous fan favorite set‘ immediately following, is widely regarded as the irrefutable starting point in the mainstream bigroom house movement. The nearly one-hour set held in the midst of downtown Miami, that ignited during a breathtaking spring break sunset, was only the DJ’s second appearance at the iconic dance music festival. Hardwell experimented with a 20-song tracklist that contained productions that would soon convert into an abundance of dance music’s most nostalgic anthems. Introducing the Miami audience to an orchestral rendition of his timeless single, “Spaceman“, Hardwell did let up in the slightest, unleashing Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso’s “Calling“, his collaboration “Jumper” with W&W and even had Dyro join him on stage for the premiere of “Never Say Goodbye“.
Return to Tomorrowland in 2018
One of the summer’s most anticipated performances calendar after calendar has been Hardwell’s return to Boom, Belgium, where he stood atop Tomorrowland’s mainstage and delivered a full 60 minutes of fast-paced bigroom. After a two-year hiatus from the renowned international festival, Hardwell officially reappeared on the event’s headliner billing to close Tomorrowland’s preeminent structure during the first evening of weekend one. Commencing with an aptly-crafted introductory edit and bootleg of Eminem’s “Without Me”, Hardwell delivered fan-favorite after fan favorite with his still unreleased “Old School ID”, a flawless mashup of “One Kiss” vs. “Bigroom Never Dies” and an impassioned grand finale featuring Ran-D’s “Zombie”. The moment of the performance that caught everyone’s attention, however, was when Hardwell reached for the mic to unveil the official follow up to his 2012 smash hit “Apollo” with “Being Alive“.
Historic 2017 Sophomore Edition of Hardwell’s Biggest Guestlist Festival
In December of 2015, Hardwell brought an astounding 80,000 fans together for one special event in Mumbai, India for his inaugural ‘World’s Biggest Guestlist Festival’. After an immensely successful first edition alongside the non-profit company Magic Bus to benefit underprivileged children, Hardwell took aim at shattering the first-year’s fundraising mark with the help of W&W, Kill the Buzz and much more. Hardwell delivered a near two-hour performance in front of more than 75,000 fans, playing out some of his most revered edits and mashups and a handful of unreleased productions including his hardstyle collaboration with Wildstylez, “Shine A Light”. The event was able to secure enough donations for more than 100,000 Indian children, who were at the receiving end of the charity’s education initiatives.
First Major Festival Appearance As DJ Mag Top 100’s #1 DJ
Hardwell was awarded with what would be his first of two titles as the number one DJ according to DJ Mag’s fan-voted Top 100 poll in October 2013. Excluding his celebratory performance at Amsterdam Music Festival following the vote reveal, Hardwell’s presence at Ultra Music Festival in 2014 marked the Dutchman’s inaugural major festival performance as defending champion. Clocking in at just over an hour, the display in downtown Miami has been widely lauded as one of, if not, the lone greatest performance of Hardwell’s extensive tenure. Opening with an unreleased cinematic introduction, which would later be known as “Eclipse“, Hardwell unleashed ID after ID in tandem with the unveiling of his remix for Armin van Buuren’s “Ping Pong”, Audien’s remix of “Pompeii” along with a closing hardstyle edit of “Spaceman” and Blasterjaxx and W&W’s “Rocket“.
Final Performance With Metropole Orkest Before Hiatus
After disclosing his impending retirement plans from the DJ world, Hardwell noted that his all-ages event during Amsterdam Dance Event alongside the Grammy-nominated Metropole Orkest would mark his official concluding performance. Through the help of the 52-person orchestra, Hardwell navigated through 30 years of dance music, taking attendees on a nostalgic adventure with the most recognizable productions in mankind. Beginning with early 1980s classics such as Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Hardwell led the journey towards modern hits such as Avicii’s “Levels” and his collaboration with the Metropole Orkest known as “Conquerers“. The celebration of music finished with the aforementioned speech from the Revealed Recordings boss where he stood in front of a crowd chanting his name and thanked them for being there with him before teasing his inevitable comeback.
Swedish House Mafia’s comeback in 2019 has been less than perfect, though despite a slow drip of information and some tantalizing holdovers, fans are still holding on for the trio’s full return to form. Though, Ultra Music Festival attendees had to suffer a major setback on June 9 when news broke that the Mafia would not be performing at the festival—one of the group’s most anticipated performances of the summer.
While Swedish House Mafia’s social media statement indicates that their forced cancellation was due to “unforeseen circumstances,” just the day before, Sebastian Ingrosso missed a planned back-to-back performance with Steve Angello in Las Vegas, due to passport issues. Angello confirmed his counterpart was denied entry into the US in the comments of a social media post shortly after the impromptu solo performance. Additional details have yet to emerge about the Korea situation, though hopefully this issue doesn’t persist across Swedish House Mafia’s busy summer itinerary.
In the months following Ultra‘s logistically discombobulated 21st installment, there’s been a wealth of uncertainty surrounding the maven dance music destination’s future. Amid a slew of backlash pertaining to Ultra’s reverberative effects on its surroundings, including local researchers’ discovering droves of distressed fish directly impacted by the festival’s decibel level, Ultra abandoned its one-off Virginia Key location amid a likely imminent ousting from the key’s advisory board. Soon after, Ultra organizers gave an official statement indicating a permanent new home in South Florida. A city manager for the Homestead-Miami Speedway (south of Miami) told The Miami Herald about unofficial exchanges between the two entities.
Though Homestead seems like a viable option (considering EDC Vegas & HARD Summer established permanent and successful homes at their respective speedways), Local 10News reports that now, a Miami Beach commissioner wants to move the festivities to Lummus Park in South Beach come 2020. An official discussion to address the move is set for May 22.
City Commissioner Ricky Arriola commented on Ultra’s prospective relocation:
“An adequate public safety, transportation and noice mitigation plan [will] be provided…Inviting an established, well-organized event like Ultra for spring break 2020 will put heads in beds and serves as the counter-programming mechanism against the unorganized chaos that was spring break 2019 on Miami Beach.”
On May 8, Ultra announced their decision to voluntarily leave Miami, ahead of a May 9 vote that would have likely kicked the festival out of its second home in two years. Ultra’s statement included a primer on a new permanent host venue to be announced soon, though the cat might be out of the bag now.
Sources close to the situation believe Ultra’s new home will be about an hour south of Miami, in Homestead, likely at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Miami Herald, which described May 8 as “the day electronic dance music died in Miami,” spoke with Homestead City Manager George Gretsas who confirmed that he and the Homestead City Council are aware of the talks between the festival and the NASCAR venue. At this point, the deal seems imminent, though nothing has been confirmed as final yet.
Currently though, its hard who will come out on top of all of this. Ultra lost its home at Bayfront Park and as a result, was forced into a new venue at Virginia Key Beach, which proved to be a logistic disaster this year. But after two tumultuous blows, the festival has seemingly gotten its just desserts, beating the City of Miami to the punch with its voluntary withdrawal and undoubtedly taking millions away from the city’s bottom line. But with EDC Las Vegas and HARD Summer both being previously forced out of major metropolitan venues in Los Angeles, the speedway venues they’ve both adopted have proven to work in those events’ favor, so maybe the Homestead-Miami Speedway will be Ultra’s saving grace in 2020. We’ll have to wait and see.