Ultra Music Festival shares second episode in ’20 Years of Ultra’ documentary series [Watch]

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ultra-2

As Ultra Music Festival looks to its landmark 20th anniversary, the global festival brand has released the second installment in its ‘20 Years Of Ultra’ documentary series.

The second episode explores the dance culture of the early 2000s, the “growing pains and challenges” associated with electronic culture’s then rapid expansion, and Ultra Music Festival’s impact in the context of dance culture, given the festival’s ability to consistently bring electronic and live groups together. Despite other cities’ struggles to legally host large scale electronic events, Miami emerged as a choice destination for electronic activity during 2003 and 2004, years credited as “turning points” for electronic music and festival culture in America. Miami has since maintained the premium it placed on electronic events in the early 2000s, and is accordingly preparing to celebrate the milestone birthday of its electronic cornerstone, Ultra Music Festival, from March 23-25. Those interested in purchasing tickets to Ultra’s 20th anniversary can purchase tickets to the festival, here.

Ultra Music Festival drops massive RESISTANCE Miami lineup

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Resistance

Ultra Music Festival unveiled their RESISTANCE lineup for UMF’s flagship Miami edition, ahead of the festival’s 20th anniversary in March. The lineup is directly in line with the underground thematics of RESISTANCE, an intra-Ultra brand that caters to house and techno fans. RESISTANCE will host some of the underground’s most storied acts across its Arcadia Spectacular “Spider” stage, and its tented Megastructure arena.

A landmark anniversary celebration warrants a lineup of large talent, and RESISTANCE delivers. Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Jamie Jones, Sasha, Maceo Plex, and more top the RESISTANCE lineup. Dubfire, Nicole Moudaber, and Paco Osuna will convene for a triple b2b performance at the Megastructure on Saturday, March 24, while J.E.S.u.S., comprised of Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Skream, and Seth Troxler, will dominate the ‘Spider’ on Sunday, March 25.

A host of additional artists will also provide support across both stages. While the RESISTANCE lineup is nothing short of stunning, it is not yet complete—festival organizers will announce the rest of the performers that comprise the RESISTANCE Miami lineup in the weeks to come. Tickets to Ultra Miami’s 20th anniversary from March 23–25 can be purchased here.

Will Swedish House Mafia reunite for Ultra’s 20th anniversary?

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There’s been no shortage of chatter over another possible Swedish House Mafia reunion since Ultra released their 2018 line-up last month. What a more opportune time after all than UMF’s upcoming twentieth anniversary edition, held in Miami’s Bayfront Park during March. In fact, if last year is any indication, it seems reunion rumors are becoming imminent during this time.


So why always with the hype? 

When EDM pioneers Swedish House Mafia bid their final farewell at Ultra Miami 2013, the trio opened a speculative can of worms for when they might one day return to the stage. As festival season officially kicks off in March with Ultra at the helm, this year has reignited the SHM rumor mill. Indeed, there have been several happenings hinting at what would be a monumental reunion to be sure. The first and most obvious indication is the appearance of Axwell Λ Ingrosso on the 2018 bill, which naturally evoked fan chatter that Steve Angello would somehow jump out of a cake on stage. However outlandish and unlikely, the speculation comes alongside the fact that SHM recently wiped its Twitter account clean, spurring Billboard to stir rumors that a reunion was on the books for 2018, according to sources close to the publication. Additionally, Steve Angello began following Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso separately on Twitter last month. But the most concrete evidence to a SHM return lays in a statement with Ultra CEO Russell Faibisch, who was recently named Magnetic Magazine‘s Industry Person of the Year. The honor came with an exclusive interview in which Faibisch spoke vaguely to this year’s special anniversary appearances,

“…something very big is in the works! Every year we pride ourselves on delivering for our fans special unannounced performances and surprises. But for the big 20th Anniversary, we knew we had to deliver something huge. Something unique that can only be seen at Ultra. It is completely under wraps. The only thing I can say is to Expect The Unexpected.”


swedish house mafia ultra 2013 rukes

So will a SHM reunion actually happen?

It’s possible, but highly unlikely. If these are in fact the only signs of a possible return, the responsible reaction to a reunion need be a highly skeptical one at best. There is also plenty of evidence to negate the trio’s return to the stage. First, Steve Angello won’t even be in the US during the time of Ultra 2018, which not only rules out chances of a SHM reunion, but any appearance during Miami Music Week at all. According to YourEDM, Angello confirmed to a fan in a DM that he is booked for gigs in Asia during the latter part of March. Second, when Billboard speculated a 2018 SHM return, the group’s longtime manager Amy Thomson categorically denied the news via Twitter. Third, while a possible SHM reunion seems inevitable, right now just isn’t the right time. While the group remain good friends, let us remember the trio originally disbanded five years ago because they felt what they were doing was artistically empty. As Angello told HuffPost,

“I think we felt like it had become a very big machine. I think the pressure … It just wasn’t having fun anymore. It was this humongous monster. We felt like tired.”

Thus, the possibility of an SHM reunion seems inevitable on the longer horizon. The moment can and will happen when Ingrosso, Angello, and Axwell collectively feel creatively compelled to create something substantively meaningful — sans any big anniversary line-ups, financial motivation, or commercial gain. As art should be.


So then, what’s the big surprise?

Several fan hypotheses have popped up on r/UMF over more practical predictions as to what we might expect from a twentieth anniversary line-up that says to “expect the unexpected.” First, there’s been speculation over long time friend Alesso joining Axwell and Ingrosso for some sort of SHM offshoot performance. Another possibility is the return of Avicii, as the star made his meteoric return to dance music just this past year. Additionally, Jack Ü is another likely performance to expect, since the duo comprised of Diplo and Skrillex made their debut at Ultra 2014. With Hardwell and Armin van Buuren’s huge b2b performance as Two Is One taking place at Amsterdam Music Festival 2017, hopes have also been high over a follow up performance among Ultra fans.

Swedish_House_Mafia

It’s difficult to determine the many possibilities Ultra has in store for 2018. While the evidence to a SHM reunion seems bleak in the eyes of some, yet hopeful in the eyes of others, we find that speculation leads to expectation, and expectation leads to disappointment. To let go of expectation is to be content with whatever outcome Ultra Music Festival has in store for their 20th anniversary festival.

 

Photo credit: Jordan Lloyd

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City of Miami Commissioners meet to decide fate of Bayfront Park-based music events

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The setting of large scale Miami-based music festivals, Ultra Music Festival and Rolling Loud, is subject to change following the City of Miami’s recent “Sunshine Meeting” on December 15. A response to the petition prepared earlier in the year by The Miami Downtown Neighbors Alliance, the “Sunshine Meeting” united Miami Commissioners to meet to discuss the future schedule of events situated at Bayfront Park, including whether annual events like Ultra and Rolling Loud would be permitted to continue to use the venue.

The Miami Downtown Neighbors Alliance garnered more than 1,154 signatures on its Change.org based petition, which expressed Downtown Miami residents’ collective desire to have “daily access” to Bayfront Park, locals’ “neighborhood park.” Residents complained that the park had alternatively been closed to the public more often than it was open, the park “…in a state of disrepair for over 100 days because of mega-concerts like Ultra and Rolling Loud,” according to petitioners. The petition proposed a uniform ban on all music-related events in Bayfront Park.

The City of Miami has yet to make a formal announcement regarding its decision to either permit such music oriented events to continue to find their foothold in Bayfront Park, or to conversely oust the events altogether. A statement should soon arrive from City Commissioners, the content of which will undoubtedly prove impactful in the landscape of Miami music productions.

H/T: EDM Sauce

 

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Ultra Music Festival sued for allegedly violating the American with Disabilities Act

Ultra Music Festival teases upcoming 20th anniversary edition with sentimental trailer

Ultra Worldwide hosts more than 1 million attendees in banner 2017 year

Ultra Music Festival sued for allegedly violating the American with Disabilities Act

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Ultra Music Festival is being sued for allegedly violating the American with Disabilities Act.

Juan Carlos Gil, a Paralympic athlete and blind activist has sued UMF because he claims that Ultra’s website and live events are not easily accessible for the visually impaired, or those with other disabilities. However, this is not Gil’s first lawsuit. He has previously sued Winn-Dixie Stores for their website’s inaccessibility for the visually impaired.

The 30-page suit is supposedly a “public motion for greater inclusivity,” rather than an indictment on Ultra.  Ultra has been under legal scrutiny in the past for incidences such as Ultra Music Festival 2014, when security guard Erica Mack was trampled by a gatecrashing mob that rushed the festival’s fences.

Scott R. Dinin, the lawyer assigned to the ADA case, has commented,  

“All we’re asking [Ultra] to do is recognize [that] this is a very diverse population, to make all their offerings available to all people in that population. We think it’ll make it a better Ultra experience and, obviously, a better Miami… I think the biggest misperception of this law is that people don’t understand that it’s been law for 25 years, this same law is a civil rights law.”

Following these accusations, Ultra Music Festival has yet to comment on the suit.

H/T: DJ Mag

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Breaking: Petition to boot ULTRA from Miami gains traction

Ultra Worldwide hosts more than 1 million attendees in banner 2017 year

Ultra Music Festival teases upcoming 20th anniversary edition with sentimental trailer

 

Ultra Music Festival teases upcoming 20th anniversary edition with sentimental trailer

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The anticipation for Ultra Music Festival commences, the international brand revealed a riveting and nostalgic trailer highlighting some of the event’s most iconic moments from its 20 year history.

Featuring a slew of testimonials from legendary producers, such as Kaskade, Carl Cox, and Armin Van Buuren, each shares their own take on how they view playing the festival and why the 20th anniversary will be looked upon as one of the landmark events in dance music. Ultra shared the video with the following statement on Facebook asking fans to submit their own individual memories,

Ultranauts,

Throughout the years, we’ve made countless memories together.

From unique performances, to special guests, to memorable audiovisual experiences… it’s been quite a journey over the past 2 decades!

In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we’ll be asking YOU to travel down memory lane with us as we highlight some of the most significant snippets of Ultra history over the coming weeks. We want to create the Ultra timeline together with you so we’re looking to all of you for your help— your photos, videos, and memories are crucial parts of our story together, and we’ll be asking you to submit them for eternal placement in the Ultra history books. We’ll even be gifting some special surprises to those whose memories are selected.

Stay connected!

#20YearsOfUltra coming soon..

The festival forecasts to host thousands at it’s home at Bayfront Park in sunny Miami this upcoming March officially releasing tickets this September.

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Ultra Worldwide hosts more than 1 million attendees in banner 2017 year

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Ultra Worldwide ought to take a bow.

The international branch of the Ultra Music Festival brand, Ultra Worldwide has concluded its 2017 year of production, attracting more than 1,000,000 attendees across 45 total events — placing Ultra Worldwide as the largest independent international music festival brand in the world. Hosting a total of 23 new events in 20 different countries, Ultra Worldwide ascended to new heights in its 2017 season.

Beyond a banner year for its festivals, 2017 also saw Ultra Worldwide’s heightened presence in Latin America. The brand made its debut in Mexico for Ultra Mexico, expanded its three-day Ultra Brasil initiative, and observed 90,000+ fans attend Rio De Janeiro’s Sambodromo event. Ultra Worldwide was also notable for its various independent Resistance and Road to Ultra occasions, the orchestration of the standalone events only further contributing to the unprecedented and prolific quality of Ultra Worldwide’s expansion Latin America.

With Ultra’s 2017 officially in the books, national and international attention may now be turned to Bayfront Park in Miami, where Ultra Music Festival Miami will celebrate its twentieth birthday come March 2018. Ultra Miami’s birthday run is slated for March 23-25. Those interested in attending UMF’s milestone anniversary event may purchase tickets to the festival here.

ULTRA Worldwide 2017 General Stats
Total global attendance: 1,000,000+
Total number of events: 45
Total number of new events in 2017: 23
Country count: 20
Total number of festival event hours: 554
Total staff employed worldwide: 10,000+
ULTRA Worldwide 2017 Media Stats
Livestream hours broadcasted via UMF TV: 143
Livestream hours viewed to date: 3,000,000
Total number of artist appearances: 1,028
Total ULTRA Passport holders: 300,000+
UMF Radio country distribution: 62
UMF Radio estimated weekly listeners: 32,693,400

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More than 400,000 attended Ultra’s Asia events this year

More than 400,000 attended Ultra’s Asia events this year

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The world’s ‘most international festival brand,’ Ultra Music Festival, has closed out an elephantine 2017 Asia tour, witnessing more than 400,000 people attend 17 events across a four-month period on the continent. The numbers are evidence of Asia’s classification as a quickly expanding market for the electronic dance music industry, leading the franchise to accordingly host a total of 17 different events in Asia from June to September, designating 2017 as a banner year for international dance music events falling under the UMF umbrella.

As shows in Bali, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Taiwan sold out across the board, those that did not physically attend the live music events still made their presence felt via respective live streams, where more than 25 million people tuned in to watch live streams of the events in China, India, Japan, and Singapore.

Ultra Music Festival developed several new events of international focus this year, adding Ultra China, Road to Ultra India (touching down in Mumbai and New Delhi), and several Resistance shows in Bali to its list of Ultra Worldwide affairs. It has been a year of massive expansion for UMF, with the brand initiating its inaugural visit to India.

Ultra Korea and China performed equally as well, drawing crowds in the thousands for Ultra Korea’s sixth anniversary, and Ultra China’s first.

All eyes may now rest on Ultra’s domestic Miami edition, set to celebrate its 20th anniversary from March 23-25 in 2018.

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Breaking: Petition to boot ULTRA from Miami gains traction

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Known as the seminal EDM event that has established a strong global presence for Miami, Ultra Music Festival is nearing it’s contract expiration with Miami’s Bayfront Park Management Trust.

A newly formed coalition of Bayfront residents, with a heavy collective financial hand, are petitioning the city to deny the renewal of ULTRA‘s contract — a festival that has brought hundreds of thousands of dance music fans together for over 15 years.

The petition is being circulated by the Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA), a group that has also demanded the city crack down on noise at clubs in the 24-hour entertainment district. The group says it’s interests lay solely with those of a growing class of residents in the heart of the city.

The petition, which is nearing 1,100 signatures, was delivered yesterday to Commissioner Frank Carollo at the monthly meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. The Miami Herald referred to the move as merely the “latest salvo” in the growing feud between downtown’s residential community and its entertainment scene, which have had conflicting interests since the city’s recent condo and apartment tower boom.

In fact, the petition goes as far as to request bans on all music-related events in Bayfront Park, including the hip-hop festival, Rolling Loud.

We, the residents of Downtown Miami and its neighboring communities deserve to have daily access to Bayfront Park – our neighborhood park…Instead, 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 neighbor alliance vows that it is no enemy of nightlife, citing their dedication to community service, education, and a focus on the needy in their neighborhood.

Ultimately, it would be impossible to dispute the downtown resident’s complaints. Yet, as the Miami New Times rightly points out, it remains difficult not to wonder: What exactly did you think downtown Miami was like before you moved in? 

Downtown is not Miami Shores. It’s not Kendall. Like every major metropolitan center, it’s a big, busy, crazy, loud space that serves as a civic hub for the 2.7 million people who live in Miami-Dade County. There are tradeoffs to living in the middle of all that. An exciting, walkable lifestyle with gorgeous views of the bay, by necessity, comes with some noise, traffic, and general annoyance…Residents who bought downtown condos knew exactly what they were bargaining for when they signed their contracts.

But EDM enthusiasts and nightlife financial backers have recently fired back on the petition group’s Facebook page. Over all, UMF brings in a $79 million positive economic impact on South Florida.

In an age where “cash is king,” it will be interesting and unsurprising if the city rules in favor of Ultra Miami.

H/T Miami New Times, Curbed Miami, Miami Herald

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Hardwell’s weekend plane trouble to result in collaboration with Afrojack

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The best collaborations just might be born from the most chance encounters.

Cue the latest musical project to be jointly expected from two of dance music’s dominant Dutchmen, Hardwell and Afrojack. “When [Hardwell] had to make an emergency landing, you’ll pick him up and you’ll travel together working on new music” wrote Afrojack in an Instagram posted yesterday. The Instagram caption accompanied a photograph of Hardwell perched atop Afrojack’s shoulders.

Fresh off of his performance at Ultra Music Festival Europe, Hardwell encountered plane trouble on his return to the Netherlands that diverted the DJ’s flight. The pilot of the plane was required to execute an emergency landing in Split, Croatia once the plane’s flaps were discovered to be inadequate to last for the duration of the flight, the plane’s flaps experiencing mechanical failure.

As serendipity would have it, Afrojack too was in Split, awaiting his own departure to Crete where he would appear at Hersonissos. Afrojack invited Hardwell aboard his own private jet where the pair set to work on new music. “What exactly they produced together, we don’t know…But people can expect that they may release something together,” confirmed Afrojack’s manager, Ludvie Mailuhi. Mailuhi’s affirmation of the DJs’ collaboration has only been further solidified since by Afrojack’s Instagram.

Hardwell went on to perform b2b style with Afrojack in Hersonissos, making for a very happy accident for those in attendance at Starbeach, the European seaside amusement park that hosted the duo that evening.

Stream Afrojack’s full Ultra Europe set below:

H/T: DJ Mag

Featured image via John Parra/Getty Images. 

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