Ultra, one of the world’s premiere electronic dance music festivals, invaded downtown Miami last weekend while celebrating its 20th year in the business.
With an epic lineup (as previously recapped by the Inquisitr), the festival made sure that spring break 2018 started off on the right foot for EDM fans around the globe, as a diverse group of international ravers made their descent into the breezy, party-like atmosphere of the beautiful Bayfront Park area. The gathering created magical, everlasting memories for both the fans in attendance and the fiery, passionate artists who hit the stage.
The three-day event made headlines all over the internet with the acclaimed reunion of Swedish House Mafia, as reported by Billboard. The trio, consisting of Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello, was last seen performing together while headlining the 2013 edition of the festival. The supergroup, known for their smash hit “Don’t You Worry Child,” received a massive, positive fan reaction to their big reveal after weeks of hype and speculation. Festival-goers were eager to show their approval of the group’s triumphant return to the Ultra main stage after a long five-year hiatus.
Swedish House Mafia weren’t the only ones soaking in the good vibes from Ultra’s showcase of the best in dance music culture. The Inquisitr had the opportunity to speak with a variety of performers, both established and new to the game, who dazzled vibrant Miami with their vast array of skills.
“It’s an important event. It’s the 20-year anniversary,” said three-time Grammy Award winner Paul Oakenfold. The English record producer started DJ-ing in the late 1970s before dance music became a cultural phenomenon. “I’m very lucky to be part of it.”
There is a reason why Oakenfold has had a long career in the business and continues to play festivals like Ultra in 2018: he continues to evolve with the times.
“You embrace change. You may not necessarily like everything, but change is around us. You find a lot of people in our industry who don’t want to do that. I like to push the barrier of what a DJ is.”
In addition to established and well-respected DJs who helped shape the foundation of the EDM scene, young and determined vocalists graced Ultra to show the world that they are ready to make a direct impact on dance culture. One singer, Brooke Forman, shared that it is always a nerve-wracking experience before performing in front of a global audience. She is getting ready to release a pop record entitled “Uncharted,” that is produced by Benny Reiner; the former drummer of Broadway’s Hamilton. Her music video, which will come out shortly, was shot and co-directed by Thor Wixom, who has been a cinematographer for significant artists including Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled, The Chainsmokers, and Kanye West.
“It was crazy. This is my third Ultra. I’ve done Japan and Brazil. Now, I’m in Miami [performing] in my home country. It was so awesome,” said Forman. “I get very bad anxiety before I perform. The second I hit the stage though, just standing on it, waiting to go on…it all goes away, and you start to feel more confident.”
First-time Ultra performer Manila Killa made sure to get some rest before making waves with a killer performance at the festival. With all eyes focused on him, the game-changing music producer knew it was his time to shine. He takes his work seriously, and it shows every time he takes the stage. His rapid rise on the EDM food chain is proof of that.
“I did not party for all of Miami Music Week. I decided to skip all of the partying last night, so I can get ready for today. I feel refreshed and super ready,” he told the Inquisitr before playing a lively and memorable set.
French record producer Tchami also took in a big moment, as he closed out the live stage with his own production alongside his colleague, Malaa. Tchami is known for being a trendsetter of the future house genre and is considered an idol in the EDM community.
“I’m grateful, first of all. It’s always a great deal to play Ultra,” Tchami grinned. “To be able to do a show in its entirety is great.”
For Ultra performer KRANE, formally a product designer, it was a surreal experience. Now a successful DJ with a loyal following, KRANE found himself playing a significant part in Ultra’s biggest celebration yet.
“I look back five years ago, and I didn’t know what Ultra was. Honestly. Part of me is like, ‘This is so weird.’ If I time traveled and asked myself if I would be doing this, I wouldn’t not believe it. I just wouldn’t understand it,” KRANE explained. “I wasn’t aware of this whole world.”
If the past 20 years are any indication, Ultra will continue to expand, bringing in curious wallflowers and successfully transforming them into seasoned festival veterans. You can catch the festival again next year in Miami on March 29 – 31.