Despite the tumultuous course of events in the past year between Ultra Music Festival and the city of Miami, there’s a slim chance that the hallmark US dance music event may return to its longtime stomping grounds in 2020.
Thanks to a proposal championed by the city’s Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Miami city officials will hold a meeting on June 27 to see if the relationship can be rectified. The proposal needs a decisive three out of five commissioners’ votes for approval. The new agreement would reinstate Ultra’s contract at Bayfront on a year-by-year basis; though, as the proposal states, commissioners would need a sweeping five-out-of-five vote to revoke its tenure should they seek to do so. The new proposal tightens operating capabilities for organizers, allowing only a month for set up and tear down, after a $2 million hosting fee is paid to the city. The event would also be hypothetically capped at 55,000 attendees, though that number is subject to change.
Ultra 2019 was stifled in part by tactical oversights, the most glaring being the lack of available transportation to and from the festival’s new housing on Virginia Key, as well as more-than-audible qualms from surrounding residents. According to the Miami Herald, Ultra reportedly still owes Miami payment from 2019’s Virginia Key iteration for fire and police services and waste disposal. If the new proposal is approved, Ultra would have until July 15 to pay the outstanding balance or reach an agreement with the city.
Skrillex wasn’t yanking chains when he said he was going to release a stronghold of new music this year. It seems festival-goers at Ultra Korea got more than a taste of what’s to come.
The robust hour-and-a-half set features various IDs, an unreleased Dog Blood track with Ty Dolla $ign, “Midnight Hour,” an unreleased remix of Space Laces‘ “Slice n Dice,” his new collaboration with TroyBoi, “War Cry,” coming out this week, and a gargantuan grip of high-energy mashups of his own volition. Another highlight of the night was a heavy-handed edit of Avicii & Skrillex vs. SQUNTO, “Levels” versus “Sayim” (Slushii Edit) into a short and sweet “Sing it for Tim” tribute.
The entire track list can be found here in case the bass should have viewers so inclined, and avid Skrillex fans will find multiple gems to keep them on their toes for official releases this summer. The dubstep poster child continues to solidify himself in dance music majesty, and this set is simply another notch in his belt of highest-level execution.
While Axwell may have declared that it’s “Swedish House Mafia for life this time” during the trio’s reunion appearance at Ultra Music Festival in 2018, the supergroup’s upcoming festival schedule across Europe may be in jeopardy.
The recent turmoil first ignited this past weekend after Sebastian Ingrosso did not take the stage for a slated back-to-back performance alongside Steve Angello at XS Las Vegas as a result of “passport issues.” In a completely unprecedented announcement just two days following, Ultra Korea was unwillingly forced to cancel the Swede’s closing headlining slot and while the reason has not been disclosed, speculation has arose that it was due to stage production disagreements. At this time, no official statement has been released from Swedish House Mafia or their team.
The story has now taken a striking turn according to a report fromDJ Mag Germany, with an intriguing, yet-to-be-substantiated bit of info that they’ve received from sources close to Swedish House Mafia. The report reveals that the Swedes have quietly closed a deal with Live Nation for an upcoming North American stadium tour and it may affect their forthcoming summer festival appearances. Those close to Swedish House Mafia believe that both Live Nation and the trio “have the intention to cancel the festival gigs where Live Nation doesn’t profit directly or indirectly.” It comes as no surprise that an artist’s headlining tour provides an immeasurable ceiling of freedom in determining all event elements and that was evident in the trio’s intricate stage production during their inaugural handful of reunion dates this past May.
Fans across the Eastern Hemisphere would certainly suffer if Swedish House Mafia and Live Nation pull the plug on their festival appearances this summer, which currently include Ultra Europe, Creamfields, Ushuaïa and countless others running through the end of September.
Dancing Astronaut has reached out to Live Nation for comment at time of publishing, with no reply yet received.
Nearly two weeks removed from Ultra Music Festival voluntarily annulling their license with the City of Miami and teasing “a new South Florida location” for 2020, Miami officials are now attempting to have the festival return to its home base. The festival was forced to host their chaotic 2019 iteration in Virginia Key after 18 successful years in Downtown Miami but ultimately decided to cut their losses from their one-off venue.
On May 21, the City of Miami held a “Sunshine Meeting” where officials reinstated discussions on Ultra’s future to conclude whether or not they were interested in “re-engaging” with the festival’s organizers. Among those present for the meeting were Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez along with commissioners Ken Russell, Keon Hardemon, and Joe Carollo. Gonzalez made his concerns over Ultra exiting the Miami area evident in stating that it was a “huge loss” and that there would be irreparable economic damages. The Miami City Manager ended his exchange by emphasizing that he would not hesitate to have Ultra back. The discussion is currently tabled until June 27, as the clock continues to tick closer to March 2020.
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.
Ultra Music Festival is on the move once again. For the second time in two years, the powerhouse electronic events brand is in the process of finding a new home. The festival’s nomadic woes began after losing their longtime home venue of Miami’s Bayfront Park after their 20th anniversary in 2018. This year’s edition of the event proved to be a logistic nightmare at a snappily thrown-together Virginia Key, and along with the growing concerns of Ultra’s environmental impact, has forced the festival to move once again.
Ultra’s official statement phrases the move as a voluntarily relinquishing of their license with the City of Miami, assuring fans the event will return to form in the coming year. Furthermore, the release states that Ultra is in the process of finalizing a “permanent home” in South Florida. Details are still unfolding, see Ultra’s full statement below.
University of Miami researchers have determined that the fish living in waters surrounding Ultra Music Festival’s new venue on Virginia Key were subject to extreme levels of stress from the festival’s volume levels—perhaps greater than that of being chased by a predator.
Researchers performed blood tests of fish at the Virginia Key hatchery, and with data collected from sound monitors, presented their findings to the Virginia Key Advisory Board. Ultimately, as a result, the advisory board suggested a resolution urging Miami revoke Ultra’s permit for a 2020 installment on Virginia Key, largely citing the noise issues. Ultra representatives have yet to comment, though the festival’s future seems tenuous at best after its first year in a new host venue.
Just weeks after debuting his new Cubev3 setup at Ultra Music Festival, deadmau5 has shared a brief recap for those who weren’t in the Miami crowd. In the three-minute video, he shows the work that went into setting up the impressive installation, starting with packing up the Cube in Toronto in February, along with snippets from sound-checking with Lights. Set to mau5ville: Level 2‘s “Drama Free,” the video drops with the chorus and shows an enthralled Ultra crowd going nuts to the new setup and Lights’ live performance of the song along with it.
deadmau5 is taking the monstrous setup on the road, making stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn and more this fall and in early 2020. Learn more and get tickets here.
After a shaky start to day one at Ultra Music Festival‘s new Virginia Key location, things started to return to normal as the weekend progressed. Rectifying the transportation errors with extra sets and extended hours, Ultra was successfully able to return the focus of the festival to the music. Between the main stage area and Resistance Island, day three of the festival included performances from a slew of Ultra favorites, including Carl Cox,The Chainsmokers and David Guetta.
From Zeds Dead‘s wonky bass takeover to Armin van Buuren‘s three-hour exploration of all things trance, the talent that closed out Ultra’s final day have left fans itching for more. Whether you were at the festival and want to relive those moments, or missed out while at home, revisit some of Dancing Astronaut‘s favorite sets from day three of the Miami festival.
Fresh off the heat of their brand new single, “Kills You Slowly”, The Chainsmokers have been paving their musical trajectory into the indie-pop landscape, a contrast from the energetic bursts of EDM melodies and mainstage anthems that they initially pursued.
The two, Alex Taggart and Andrew Pall have stirred commotion with news of an upcoming album, in addition to a jam-packed summer season of performing at club residencies and music festivals. Now heading into one of their biggest performances of the year, the duo are slated to close out the Ultra Music Festival mainstage on Sunday March 31.
To catch The Chainsmokers in action, tune into the Ultra livestream below.