About This Festival
Ultra Music Fest is an electronic music festival featuring hundreds of acts over two weekends in downtown Miami, Florida, although the Ultra franchise can now be found around the world, including São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Ibiza, Spain. Originally the purely electronic music lineup boasted DJs and techno tastemakers from around the world including the likes of Justice, Deadmau5, Tiesto, Diplo, Carl Cox and numerous others; however, it’s not just the music but the audience, spectacle and immersion that make this world class dance party.
Welcome to Ultra Music Festival
Miami, Florida has long been heralded as a warm weather playground for the rich, beautiful, and energetic. Ultra Music Festival (UMF) has become Miami’s event of the year attracting upwards of 350,000 attendees over its three days and two weekends. Despite its expansion into other genres, the roots of Ultra are planted firmly in electronic dance music. Originally a one-day event, Ultra added a second day in 2005 to “offer the opportunity to enjoy live bands [...] while keeping true to our core audience and introducing them to something new," says producer Russell Faibisch. A third day was added in 2012 and now UMF is held two weekends around the Winter Music Conference.
DJ World Domination
It all started with the Winter Music Conference (WMC), an almost 30 year old industry event held in Miami for music professionals. Ultra was born in 1999 as a “closer” party to the WMC. With the growth and success of dance music in America, UMF began to carve an impressive niche for itself only recently rivaled by Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival.
Despite other festivals that focus on live music acts, UMF has maintained it’s EDM roots, presenting the aesthetics, lineups, and production value of European electronic music festivals. The lack of an identity crisis has led to steady rises in attendance annually, from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands, with 2008’s event, breaking Miami’s records for tickets sold to a single event.
With Miami Music Week happening around the same time, and Ultra bookending the WMC it’s a very fun time to be in Miami. The line-up announcement rolls out in multiple phases during which the Ultra organizers announce a prodigious lineup of new performers to maximize the hype window.
Ultra dominates the downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park. UMF is an extension of dance culture which saw its apex in the US with the indoor rave scene of the 1990s. Consider this a modern take of the European-influenced outdoor rave for grown-ups—sleeker, hipper, and more urban. To be a drop in the sea of hundreds of thousands of colorful, costumed dancers at an Ultra set is an experience. If you thrive on the energy of the masses, Ultra is the festival for you. The vibe is friendly and it’s an easy place to make fast “party friends” and enjoy the after parties as they spill out onto the streets of downtown Miami. Dance until the morning comes, and then nourish yourself with a 5am cubano sandwich. Rinse, repeat, and dance.