The festival announced to fans on social media that this year’s 21st iteration of the event will feature a brand new immersive experience featuring extended sets, later hours, and expanded festival grounds. Tickets are still available, and fans can purchase them here.
See Ultra Music Festival’s full phase two lineup below.
A case of David and Goliath in the festival world has come to an end with the “big guy” on top. Rapture Electronic Music Festival‘s federal lawsuit against Ultra Music Festival (UMF) has been thrown out by a local judge, reports Your EDM. Rapture’s federal lawsuit followed the cease and desist warning that Rapture issued to Ultra in January. The official ruling in the case asserts, “‘[…] the Complaint fails on its face to plausibly allege any unlawful conspiracy or anticompetitive arrangement between Defendants. Plaintiff relies exclusively on conclusory allegations of conspiracy backed by no factual allegations whatsoever.’” Rapture may either amend or formally withdraw the complaint.
Rapture initially cited their possession of a signed, previously arranged agreement to use the Virginia Key land throughout 2020, but more specifically, from March 28-30, 2019, the very same dates that Ultra declared for its 2019 installment. Rapture referenced their application to host their own festival on Virginia Key, dated March 11, 2018. Rapture additionally paid a deposit to use the island from March 28-30. Needless to say, only one of the festivals can occupy Virginia Key.
“We have filed a federal lawsuit that will include an emergency injunction against Ultra, City of Miami and Virginia Key Beach Trust in order to return our location, claiming what is rightfully ours. At this point the future of Rapture at Virginia Key Beach Park is in the Federal judge’s hands. We have full trust in the federal system to obtain a fair judgement,” Rapture stated in a Facebook post. UMF coordinators responded to Rapture’s legal complaint in a press release that proclaims Rapture’s lawsuit to bear “no merit.”
The press release asserts that “Ultra lawfully secured its license to host its annual production on Virginia Key, including by obtaining necessary approvals from the City of Miami Commission.” “We are excited to present our fans with what will be the best and most transformative music festival that we have ever produced by way of music, artists, experience, cutting edge and technologically advanced production elements and novel art installations,” the press release concludes. Ultra’s full-length statement follows below, along with Rapture’s 19-page formal complaint:
FEBRUARY 2, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
There is no merit to yesterday’s lawsuit. To claim that Ultra has violated the law is both disappointing and misplaced. Ultra lawfully secured its license to host its annual production on Virginia Key, including by obtaining necessary approvals from the City of Miami Commission. We are excited to present our fans with what will be the best and most transformative music festival that we have ever produced by way of music, artists, experience, cutting edge and technologically advanced production elements and novel art installations. We look forward to hosting our 21st edition of the Ultra Music Festival at our new home at Miami Marine Stadium and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park on March 29, 30 and 31, 2019.
2019 will be a year of revision for Ultra Music Festival (UMF). The flagship festival of the international UMF brand, Ultra Miami will not only be facing changes of a locational kind. Ultra announced in November that it would host its 21st iteration at Virginia Key Beach Park, following the City of Miami Commission’s rejection of Ultra’s request for a contract renewal at its longtime home of Bayfront Park. As Ultra organizers prepare for a change of scenery, they’ve also quietly announced a series of major adjustments to the event’s organization. Ultra’s underground oriented RESISTANCE stage will occupy its own “island” within Virginia Key, while the festival’s UMF Radio, Ultra Worldwide, Live Arena, and Mainstages will remain clustered in another part of Virginia Key Beach Park, the Miami Marine Stadium.
In previous years, Ultra has spread its house and techno acts across its Megastructure and Arcadia Spider stages, but appears to have abandoned the Arcadia Spider stage this year. The Spider is notably not listed among the many stages that Ultra will run in 2019 in any of the promotional material that event organizers have disseminated to date. Ultra’s ASOT stage will return to carry on its legacy at Virginia Key, and will be flanked by Martin Garrix‘s STMPD Records stage, Richie Hawtin‘s PLAYdifferently, and ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective stages, which round out Ultra’s collection of branded areas. It currently remains unclear whether Ultra will replace the Spider with a novel new stage, to restore the sixth stage that the festival loses in the Spider. Although the fate of Ultra’s sixth stage is suspended in uncertainty, the caliber of the first phase of the festival’s lineup is assuredly one of Ultra’s finest.
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.