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.
It’s almost April 14 and for Game of Thrones fans, eyes have anxiously been fixated on that date as it marks the premiere of the final season of the hit HBO series. Surrounding this hype is a vast array of promo, of which includes a recent re-creation of the show’s iconic theme song in conjunction with Mountain Dew’s new Thrones-centric ad campaign.
The theme song “remix” consists of one lyric—”Dew,” eventually making way for Migos to hop in for some bars delivered from atop the iron throne. The “Dew” singers include NBA All-Star Joel Embiid, EDM power-duo The Chainsmokers, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt jr, and more.
The Chainsmokers are clearly huge GOT fans themselves, paying tribute to the series during their Ultra Music Festival 2019 set (see the pair holding swords and playing an electronic cover of its theme at 1:11:30).
Other than transportation issues on the first day of the festival, Ultra Music Festival had a seemingly successful debut at its new Miami Location in Virginia Key. The festival reported that they saw over 170,000 attendees at the festival this year, up 5,000 attendees from 2018. Despite doors being closed less than 72 hours ago, Ultra has already announced its 2020 dates, although they have yet to confirm the location. With that, next year’s iteration of Ultra is set to take place on March 27, 28, and 29, 2020.
Former Miami Police Chief and now Head of Security for the music festival, Ray Martinez commented on the festival’s intention to return to its Virginia Key location next year.
“It was a great event in a beautiful location, and we look forward to being here next year and producing — and even improving on — our event and our festival,” Martinez said.
Ultra’s marketing and new media manager posted on Twitter following the festival, where he pointed out that details surrounding the Virginia Key location were pulled together by the festival organizers with just four months of planning time. With a year to plan, 2020 could be Ultra’s biggest year yet.
Ultra Music Festival 2019 has come to an end, and with that, endless IDs have surfaced, giving the electronic music community plenty to anticipate in the months to come. The Chainsmokers were among the artists to debut new music after an unexpected announcement that the duo linked up with none other than Illenium for a forthcoming track in the middle of their set.
The new release was debuted at the 42-minute mark of The Chainsmokers’ Ultra set, and it’s a recognizable blend of the artists’ styles. The vocals are undeniably catchy, as one would expect in a Chainsmokers’ track, but Illenium’s signature echoed layering of the vocals transports the listener to another realm. The Chainsmokers’ Drew Taggart also sings on the song, which falls into a chilling future bass drop.
Alex Pall and Taggart noted that this is the first time they’ve ever debuted a track at Ultra Music Festival. They did not announce when fans can expect the track to be released, but given they recently announced another full-length album in 2019, it would not be surprising if the track is set to be featured on the compilation in the year to come.
The painstakingly slow pace with which Swedish House Mafiaindividually announced each of their upcoming 2019 performances contrasts with the unanticipated rapidity of the supergroup’s cancellation of all upcoming shows—effective immediately. Swedish House Mafia have been a highly sought lineup inclusion since their landmark reunion at Ultra Music Festival in 2018. The “Greyhound” producers recently topped Ultra Europe‘s 2019 lineup, as well as Ultra Korea, Lollapalooza Berlin, and Creamfields’. Now, instead of “Save The World” at festivals across the globe, Swedish House’s unexpected and incredibly swift cancellations presents these festival organizers with a new challenge: “Save The Lineup.”
Swedish House Mafia have also backed out of their singular headlining shows. Axwell, Ingrosso, and Angello were slated to take the decks in a number of cites worldwide, ranging from Mexico City to Stockholm. Swedish House Mafia jointly broke the news of the cancellations during an interview on BBC Radio 1.
“You know what they say, three’s a crowd. We found that to be true as we plotted our comeback tour,”
Steve Angello said. The Size Records figurehead confirmed that he will continue to solo produce and release music.
While each member of the Mafia stated his regret that the reunion effort will not in fact come to fruition during the interview, Axwell and Ingrosso also expressed their optimism for the future. The pair previously shared their plan to press pause on their Axwell ^ Ingrosso project, in order to devote the full scope of their focus to the revival of Swedish House Mafia. “We will now, in fact, be taking our old project off the shelf. We thought about doing a countdown to a bunch of new dates for Ax and I, but we thought the idea seemed kind of unoriginal” Ingrosso said during the BBC Radio 1 interview. Further along in the interview, Axwell, who mainly kept quiet during the discussion, coyly mentioned that he believes all of life is a simulation and he’s a big fan of April Fool’s jokes.