Ultra Music Festival
Ultra 2018 Pulls Out All the Stops for 20th Year
Miami’s largest EDM event, Ultra Music Festival, celebrated its 20th anniversary by unveiling a slew of surprises as well as breaking a string of records. The sold-out festival took place on March 23 – 25 at Miami’s Bayfront Park. There were 165,000 revelers in attendance.
Since its inception in 1999 by Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes, Ultra has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most successful electronic music festivals with offshoot festivals occurring on every continent. Ultra already announced that it would return to Miami on March 29 – 31, 2019.
150 Performers Across 8 Stages
The enormous Main Stage saw performances from David Guetta, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, DJ Snake, The Chainsmokers, and a special surprise reunion from Swedish House Mafia that closed out Sunday night. The hotly anticipated SHM reunion marked the group’s first live show since their performance at Ultra 2013.
Marshmello also brought a string of special guests to the Main Stage, including Lil Uzi Vert, Slushii, Yo Gotti (featured on “Rake It Up”), G-Eazy (featured on “No Limit”), and the legendary Will Smith (featured on “Miami”). Latin pop stars Daddy Yankee, Elvis Crespo, and Play-N-Skillz made special guest appearances as well during Steve Aoki’s Main Stage set.
This year’s RESISTANCE MEGASTRUCTURE stage featured several international techno and house superstars such as Adam Beyer, Jamie Jones, and Carl Cox who closed the stage on both Friday and Saturday. Saturday also saw an extended B2B set by Dubfire, Nicole Moudaber, and Paco Osuna. On Sunday, the MEGASTRUCTURE stage was dedicated to Armin Van Buuren’s hit radio show “A State of Trance” which celebrated its 850th show and was closed by the surprise headliner Above & Beyond.
Ultra is no stranger to creating elaborate visual productions for their sets. However, no stage was as grand as the aptly-named SPIDER stage. The festival once again partnered with the performance art collective Arcadia who returned with their 50-ton spider sculpture. The SPIDER stage showcased the art piece, fully equipped with pyrotechnics, moving legs, and custom laser light shows. The spider closed every day with a 5-minute pyro show following headliners Sasha | John Digweed, Maetrik, and J.E.S.u.S.
For the fifth year in a row, Ultra was the #1 trending topic across social media over the weekend. With this feat, the festival has officially secured its place as the most tweeted about electronic music event in history.
UMF TV’s live stream of the festival continued its annual trend of increasing its viewership by the millions. Ultra Live brought in over 30 million viewers worldwide. That number is up from 20 million in 2017 and 14 million in 2016. Furthermore, this year’s growth is in part due to those who tuned in to watch Swedish House Mafia’s headlining set.
According to miami.cbslocal.com, the Security Director called this year’s Ultra the safest ever. No major incidents were reported. As well, the number of arrests has declined for the fifth year in a row. Out of the 27 arrests that occurred, few were for assault, with the majority being for ticket counterfeiting and narcotics.