It was first held on Miami Beach , but besides a tenure at Bicentennial Park , and briefly being held at Virginia Key in , it has primarily been held at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
It was a one-day festival from to Since , Ultra has taken place across three days Friday through Sunday during the month of March. The festival is held alongside the Winter Music Conference —an event focusing on the electronic music industry which was acquired by Ultra outright in , and Miami Music Week —a larger program of electronic music concerts and parties held across the region, with both events usually leading into Ultra.
Although they share names, Ultra Music Festival was not directly tied to Ultra Records , an electronic music record label. However, the two entities did announce a "global alliance" in August , which would allow them to collaborate on marketing and cross-promotion.
Alongside the flagship event in Miami, Ultra has spawned a larger series of international franchises under the blanket branding Ultra Worldwide , which have included locations such as South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and others. However, in March the festival returned to South Beach's Collins Park and was met with even more success.
The festival was immediately renewed for a third year. Due to the massive rise in attendance between and , festival organizers decided to relocate to Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami for Ultra's third annual event in With an estimated attendance of over 70, people, Ultra Music Festival set a new record for the City of Miami for number of tickets sold at a single event.
The festival sold out for the first time with over , attendees, where it was also announced that the thirteenth annual edition would take place over the course of three days during March The fourteenth edition of Ultra Music Festival was held from March 23—25, Early bird pre-sale tickets for Ultra Music Festival sold out within seconds. In honor of its fifteenth anniversary, the edition was held over two weekends, March 15—17, , and March 22—24, On January 7, , after organizers requested additional road closures for the event, Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff proposed a resolution calling for disapproval of the second weekend.
The two weekends had a total attendance of , spectators. For , the festival returned to a single weekend, which took place March 28—30, On March 28, a security guard was left in "extremely critical" condition after being trampled by a crowd of people attempting to gate crash the festival by breaking down a chain-link fence. After the gatecrashing incident in , some uncertainties arose as to whether Ultra would still be held; however, organizers still announced that the edition would be held from March 27—29, In a meeting on April 24, , Miami commissioners voted 4 to 1 against banning the festival, allowing Ultra to remain in downtown Miami for Marc Sarnoff, the lone commissioner to vote in favor of banning Ultra, presented footage of lewd behavior by attendees at previous editions, and contended that the event affected the quality of life for downtown residents because they were being harassed by visitors.
The remaining commissioners supported the festival's presence because of the exposure and positive economic effects it brings to Miami, and Keon Hardemon disputed the argument that it affected downtown residents, as they, in his opinion, chose to live in the city so they could participate in local events.
However, the approval was made on the condition that organizers introduce facilities for addressing security, drug usage and lewd behavior by attendees. In addition organizers hired the retiring Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez to oversee security for future events. On January 12, , Ultra co-founder Alex Omes, who had left the organization in , was found dead at the age of 43  from a drug overdose. A new stage area known as Resistance was also introduced for , which focused upon lesser-known "underground" electronic musicians in genres such as deep house and techno , and featured a degree stage installation known as "Afterburner", designed by the British collective Arcadia Spectacular.
As band member Maxim was unable to attend due to medical issues, The Prodigy cancelled their Saturday night performance. Deadmau5 took their place, alongside his previously-scheduled A State of Trance performance on Sunday.
Immediately upon the conclusion of the edition, it was announced that the edition would be held from March 24— It was also revealed that both the main and A State of Trance stages would feature unannounced headliners as closing acts on the final night.
Swedish House Mafia closed the festival in their first live appearance as a group since ; rumors suggesting Daft Punk would appear were dispelled by Steve Angello having cancelled tour dates in Asia that coincided with the festival, as well as SHM-related signs and imagery having appeared in the city.
Security officials stated that the edition of Ultra was the "safest" in recent years, reporting only 27 arrests in total during the festival related particularly to narcotics , ticket counterfeiting , and an attendee physically attacking a police officer and no "major" incidents. The edition was held from March 29—31, On September 27, , the commissioners of Miami voted unanimously against allowing the festival to be hosted at Bayfront Park, citing noise complaints and other concerns among downtown residents.
Virginia Key is accessible from mainland Miami via the Rickenbacker Causeway , which also provides access to the island and community of Key Biscayne. The proposal was met with resistance from officials in Key Biscayne, citing the possibility of safety, noise, and environmental concerns, as well as increased traffic on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Prior to a meeting and vote on the matter, the village began campaigning against the festival. It published a video on Facebook narrated by mayor Michael Davey, warning that hosting Ultra would result in "environmental destruction, noise and an increase in alcohol and drug-related violence".
Organizers dismissed the video as disparaging and being "potentially criminaliz[ing]" to its attendees, and stated that they would be interested in a "open-minded and good-faith dialogue" with the community. Concerns were presented over the festival's effects on local wildlife; the island features a number of sensitive wildlife areas and hosts various endangered species, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science displayed concerns that the loud music produced by the event could disrupt marine habitats, and in turn, research projects being undertaken by the school.
Organizers stated that they expected to place more of the stages in the parking lots surrounding the Miami Marine Stadium than the beach. A competing techno festival known as Rapture had been held at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park on the same weekend as Ultra since In February , the organizers of Rapture attempted to sue Ultra and the city of Miami under antitrust grounds, claiming that they had already booked the site for two of the same dates as Ultra.
The suit was dismissed by a judge, who argued that both Rapture and Ultra had submitted applications, but that only Ultra's was actually accepted. Judge Rodolfo Ruiz denied a motion requesting an emergency injunction.
Phase 1 of the lineup was unveiled December 20, , featuring returning acts such as Carl Cox, The Chainsmokers, Deadmau5 including a set that featured the debut of his new "Cube 3. Attendees reported that staff members were also unhelpful in guiding them towards the correct pickup points, while many elected to instead take a roughly 2. This, in turn, prompted the shuttles to eventually suspend operations due to the influx of pedestrian traffic on the causeway. While lines were still reported, the transit situation was considered to have been improved on subsequent nights.
Key Biscayne, Mayor Michael Davey stated that Ultra "did the best they could, but it's just not the right place". Miami mayor Carlos A. Despite the move intending to reduce disruption to them, downtown residents still reported excessive noise, vibrations, and lights coming from the site. Following the festival, Ultra pulled out of its contract with Key Biscyane, deeming that the event was "simply not good enough" at its new location, and stating that it planned to move to a new location in South Florida for with the possibility of it being held outside of Miami proper.
The resolution was met with intense debate from both sides, but the Commission ultimately voted 3—2 in favor. Ultra also announced that it would be continuing its sustainability initiatives that were put into motion for the festival, this included a full plan to protect the Biscayne Bay.
The festival's Phase 2 lineup was announced on January 22, which also revealed the labels and collectives that would partake in hosting stages at the event. Ultra was one of the first major U. On March 13, U. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency , and the country is in the acceleration phase of the pandemic.
Public transportation is generally used by attendees—including the Miami Metrorail , Metromover which provides free service through Downtown Miami and Brickell , and Metrobus services—to reach the festival grounds due to the cost and scarcity of downtown parking.
South Beach has also been used as an alternative location by some attendees, but traffic congestion is common in and around Miami during the festival. During the festival at Virginia Key, concerns were voiced by another community connected via the causeway, Key Biscayne, Florida , over the possibility that the festival could cause traffic congestion on the Rickenbacker Causeway —the sole vehicular link between it and the mainland.
During the edition of Ultra Miami, it was announced that India and Australia would host Road to Ultra events starting in In , Ultra also began to expand the Resistance brand into its own event series, beginning with an date international tour headlined by Sasha and John Digweed in , along with an eight-week, Tuesday residence at Privilege Ibiza.
In February , it was announced that a three-day Resistance Mexico City festival would be held from May 25—27, It was later announced that a second event in Sydney would be added for From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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