After the Sept. 27 announcement from Miami City Commission that Ultra Music Festival would no longer be allowed in Bayfront Park, the festival has issued a statement in response.
In a Facebook post published hours after the announcement, festival organizers said they’re “disappointed” with the outcome of the decision, but that they’re working on “establishing a resolution that works for everyone.” Organizers also took time in the post to clear the air about some of the decision’s ramifications, noting that the vote “represents only a denial of certain terms of the current proposed five-year contract, rather than the continued production of the overall festival itself.”
Ultra has taken place in Miami for the past 18 years, but continued complaints from area residents of over the years have caused the issue to be taken up with the Miami City Commission. Though it remains unclear where the festival will take place next year, it appears from this announcement that festival-goers can remain hopeful that the organizers will concoct a solution.
Ultra Music Festival organizers will face a steep price tag if they wish to keep Miami’s veteran music event in its longtime location of Bayfront Park in the years to come.
The Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA) circulated a petition in July 2017 that called on Miami’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to return access to Bayfront Park — DNA residents’ “neighborhood park” — to downtown Miami locals. “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 document read. The petition surpassed 1,100 signatures when it reached the hands of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo.
Now, the feud between downtown Miami dwellers and large scale Bayfront Park hosted music events like Ultra Music Festival will come to a head as Carollo presents UMF orchestrators with a financially oriented ultimatum: pay $2 million annual payments to the agency that oversees Bayfront Park, or take Ultra elsewhere.
UMF organizers’ previous contract permitted the festival to occupy Bayfront for a five-year period. In exchange, Ultra Music Festival paid the city of Miami a sum comprised of a usage fee and a ticket surcharge that was then tacked onto the cost of each individual UMF admission cost. The city collected an average of about $663,000 from UMF over the five-year stretch, notably enjoying an elevated profit of $742,000 in 2018. Given that Ultra’s contract expired in 2018, festival organizers will need to make swift and strategic moves if they plan to keep Bayfront Park as Ultra’s home location.
While Miami residents like Rev. Pedro Martinez continue to call upon city officials like Carollo to ‘stop the prostitution of the park to multiple events,’ Ultra lobbyist Ray Martinez reiterates the global value inherent in the festival that, in many ways, put Miami on the musical map. ‘Let’s look at the positives,’ Ray Martinez said, ‘We talk about Miami wanting to be a world-class city. Ultra is a world-class event. It is the Art Basel of electronic music.’
Rolling Loud is also expected to face steep fees if it seeks to return to the park in future years of festival production. Neither Ultra nor Rolling Loud have commented on the recent contract related complications.
Spotify ad breaks seem always to arrive at inconvenient times: prior to the listener’s favorite song in the music streaming service’s queue, or in Alan Walker’s case, during a Main Stage set at Ultra Music Festival.
Walker appeared to have been using the ad supported free version of Spotify during his March 24 set at Ultra 20, but fans can rest assured that the set’s inclusion of the Spotify ad was both intentional and in jest. “That was a specific edit that Alan had prepared,” said a spokesperson for Walker, “it was meant to be a funny and sarcastic poke at people who say DJs just press ‘play.’”
Viewers of Walker’s March 24 set at Ultra 20 can skip ahead to the 5:40 mark to watch Walker effectively build crowd anticipation for an ensuing and thunderous drop, only to troll the crowd via a soundbite of “Johnathan” from Spotify’s voice at the point of the track’s drop (6:12). Close watchers will note that the lighting and stage effects remain in sync with the soundbite, further solidifying the the clip’s intentional angle.
A tweet from 1001 Tracklists alleges that the Swedish super group’s closing set at the Miami festival contains two brand new IDs, directing attendees and live stream viewers alike to the set, exhorting listeners to “Take a look and listen again.” Ultra 20’s live host, Andrea Helfrich, noted that there were “three IDs” in the set during UMF TV’s live stream of the set, thus signifying that there are a minimum of at least two new IDs in the set, and possibly a third.
Originally published on the evening of March 26, the tweet has since been removed from Twitter.
If the news holds true, a future Swedish House Mafia release could be arriving sooner than perhaps expected. Those seeking to probe the set for the reported new IDs can find SHM’s Ultra set, here.
Along with the weekend came a bevy of top industry taste maskers spotlighting the upcoming year’s most popular dance floor anthems in their sets. Over the weekend, 1001tracklists.com compiled a list of the Top Ten most-played tracks at Ultra Music Festival. From singles one might expected to see from names like Drake, Skrillex, and GTA, a deeper listen into the list reveals some tracks that will surely surprise and delight.
In years past, the tracks dominating Ultra’s main stage were seen as a way to forecast which generic trends might be dominating the festival season cycle. The sheer diversity in this year’s compiled list displays a wider range of genre crossing, however, which speaks to dance music’s diversification of tastes and sounds.
Here are the top ten tracks most played tracks at Ultra 2018.
1. Drake – God’s Plan [OVO]
2. Gammer – The Drop [Monstercat]
3. 4B &TEEZ – Whistle [Premiere Class]
4. 4B & Aazar – Pop Dat [FREE]
5. Valentino Kahn – Lick It [Spinnin’]
6. GTA ft. DJ Funk – Booty Bounce (GTA Hyprr Mix) [Free/Mad Decent]
7. DJ Snake – Magenta Riddim [Geffen/Universal]
8. David Guetta, Martin Garrix, & Brooks – Like I Do [What A Music]
9. Skrillex & Habstrakt – Chicken Soup [OWSLA]
10. Skrillex & Rick Ross – Purple Lamborghini [Atlantic/Warner]
On March 23, Tiësto took to the Ultra 20 main stage for a special sunset performance. During his 90-minute set, the godfather of dance music brought out a couple of surprise appearances, including his fabled alter ego, Marshmello, along with a loveable closing moment when his fiancé, model Annika Backes, joined him for a kiss.
What made Tiësto’s performance so special, however, was how much unreleased new music the Dutch powerhouse producer dropped onto his Miami audience — five brand new tracks, to be exact. The new music will be a part of Tiësto’s new EP being release this Friday, March 30th. The release marks the first new material from Tiësto since 2014, when he released his fifth studio album, A Town Called Paradise.
Watch Tiësto’s Ultra 2018 main stage performance now.
Living up to its promise to “expect the unexpected” in 2018, UMF capped off a lofty Miami Music Week with a number of attention-grabbing acts from dance music’s top tastemakers, including David Guetta, Kaskade, Eric Prydz, and Above & Beyond, along with an illustrious cast of newcomers in REZZ, Jauz, and Virtual Self. The most exalted act of the weekend came in the form of a highly anticipated reunion from Swedish House Mafia, who filled the surprise guest slot to close out the festival. Marshmello made his main stage debut and premiered his newest collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert, The Chainsmokers put the naysayers to bed with their high-energy performance, which included four unreleased tracks and a flaming drum solo, and Sir Carl Cox delivered a high-powered spectacle in his Resistance Megastructure.
Other notable moments came care of DJ Snake, who brought out Tchami, Malaa, and Mercer to debut their new collaboration, “Let’s Get Ill;” Axwell Λ Ingrosso, who opened their set with a captivating new track ID; Tiësto, who invited out his new fiancé, model Annika Backes, to the stage; and Steve Aoki, who assembled Daddy Yankee, Elvis Crespo, and Play-N-Skillz for a live performance of their recent release, “Azukita.”
For those who can’t count themselves lucky enough to have witnessed the live weekend spectacle, DA has compiled a comprehensive list of streams from UMF 2018 to relive the festival’s most magical moments.
Despite mounting resistance to Ultra Music Festival‘s beloved location by downtown residents, the powerhouse organizing body behind UMF has secured its return to Miami’s Bayfront Park, March 29–31, 2019. The announcement, along with official dates, came via the festival guides handed out to attendees of the 2018 event.
Given the past petition attempt to boot the dance music festival from the heart of downtown Miami — a feature which is perhaps UMF’s biggest draw — their 2019 return to Bayfront Park is a major win for Ultra Miami. Ultimately, the City of Miami, who met late last year, ruled in favor of keeping the event at it’s home on the basis that UMF brings $79 million in commerce to South Florida. This past Friday, Ultra even hosted city commissioner, Ken Russell, to show just how much of an asset the festival is to Miami. Too big to fail, may be the correct term of phrase to use for Ultra.
Thank you for making history with us at #ULTRA20!!
Dance music fans and pundits have spent the past few weeks in anxious agony as rumors of Swedish House Mafia‘s fabled return to close Ultra on Sunday swirled around the the internet. Speculations began arising as to who the “surprise special guests” would be shortly after Ultra Miami announced its lineup, reaching fever pitch after a series of events including a mysterious social media update and a cryptic confession from a lighting technician all but validated the rumors for those tracking the case.
Those refusing to believe anyone aside from the iconic trio would be chosen as the festival’s 20th anniversary closers can sit back in vindicated contentment, as Steve Angello, Axwell, and Ingrosso have just set foot on the main stage in a dramatic fashion to take the decks as “One.” A palpable wave of emotion can be felt through the stream, even, as the reunited legends began their “surprise” set with a dynamic array of visuals, ethereal hints of familiar vocals, bursts of synth roars, and finally, their crowd-favorite single “Miami To Ibiza.” A joyous moment has been marked in dance history, indeed.
Per a Tweet from FPIA, the outfit will have debuted three new SHM productions by the time their set is done. Now the question remains: Will Swedish House Mafia’s reunion be a one-off event, or will their “One Last Tour” cease to be with the announcement of a new slew of gigs? We’ll be watching the dance space heavily to find out.
Ultra Music Festival announced its acquisition of Winter Music Conference (WMC) during a press conference in Miami on March 21. In addition, Ultra acquired the International Dance Music Awards. The landmark deal was apparently in the works for a while, according to WMC co-founder Bill Kelly, who will retain his position to continue his vision for the conference.
“WMC will allow veterans and newcomers alike to develop themselves and their organizations to become competitive players in the industry,” says UMF Marketing and New Media Manager Albert Berdellans. “We are very excited to contribute to the vision of Miami as a hub of entertainment, culture and business.”
The merger seemed like a natural fit for Kelly and Russell Faibisch, Ultra’s Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, who began the festival as a way to cap off the business side of WMC with a celebration of dance music. During the press conference, Faibisch also commented on the the impact WMC has had on the dance music industry and their combined vision for moving forward.
“For over thirty years, WMC has been integral to Miami’s storied relationship with dance music. The conference was where some of the biggest deals in dance music history were made and we look forward to working with Bill to pair WMC and Ultra into one extravagant Miami Music Week,” says Faibisch.
Ultra’s acquisition comes after its initial success and growth came as a result of its positioning at the end of the Winter Music Conference — a feeder system it soon outgrew. Years of contention began between the once-neighborly events, which was confounded by the newer addition of Miami Music Week as it slowly began to take the focus away from the business aspect of the industry and channeled it more into non-stop parties taking center stage in Miami.
Weeks ago, media outlets began speculating over whether EDM’s longest-standing conference would see a 33rd edition in 2018. The week-long event had been waning attendance in recent years, but WMC announced it would return in the days leading to Ultra Miami.
Kelly said he’s excited about the new business model.
“A couple years ago, we revisited the idea of coming together. At that point the Amsterdam Dance Event and International Music Summit in Ibiza had formed over the course of the last five years or so, but Ibiza is a very small island, it’s very expensive, and it’s not easily available to businesses and fans. Over the years, the significance of WMC slightly diminished because of those, so to bring (attention) back to Miami, this acquisition was necessary.”
Berdellans also announced that UMF would expand into China with Ultra Beijing, June 16-17, 2018, as well as Shanghai, some time in September. Ultra now plays host to 47 festivals in 24 countries across six continents.