Ultra Music Festival’s Past and Present


Enzo Picardi

A thrilled crowd at Ultra Music Festival 2013.

Sofia Bratt, Staff Writer

Every year, thousands of people come together to share their love and excitement towards electronic dance music (EDM). Ultra Music Festival, one of the largest festivals in the world, doesn’t only attract locals – people from 80 different countries come to Miami just to take part in this unbelievable experience.

During the last week of March, the energetic city of Miami hosts their annual “music week.” These seven days are filled with madness, happiness and, most importantly, making new friendships.

A couple of years ago, Ultra was known as the “Winter Music Conference,” and was an elite gathering of all the top artists across the globe. This mind blowing music festival started creating unforgettable memories in 1999 as a small event on the beautiful sandy beach.

“It was a lot different back then – the people were there for the actual music, not only to get drunk and do drugs – plus there were barely any kids,” Gables alumni Betsy Bettsworth said.

Today, the exhilarating festival is now known as “Ultra Worldwide,” because it also takes place in Korea, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Poland, Ibiza and Croatia. In 2013, Ultra wanted to celebrate its 15th anniversary in the most extravagant way, so the festival was made two weekends long instead of one, which attracted nearly 330,000 people!

Later, by the year 2000, Ultra had evolved into its own space and moved to Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Today, a record 155,000 people attend the three day music festival to see an large number of talented artists there performing. Ultra is considered the best EDM festival of the year; as a result of its booming success last year, $79 million poured into South Florida’s economy.

The biggest issue for the Ultra Music Festival is being able to provide the safest environment for “Ultranauts.” Recently, Ultra informed their fans that the 2015 music festival will require that the minimum age to attend will be 18 years old due to safety issues in past years. During the festival last year, security guard Ericka Mack, 28, was shockingly trampled and severely injured when a mob of people crashed the fence. The brave security guard suffered a skull fracture and a broken leg. After the incident, Miami officials debated whether the annual music festival should be allowed back in the city limits in the future or not.

“I’m really lucky that I’ll be turning 18 before the festival next year, but at the same time I think it sucks that they’re not letting other people around the same age go. [Ultra officials] should at least make it 16 years and older,” senior William Midence said.

Fans will be able to watch the music festival on live stream straight from the Ultra youtube channel. Every year, Ultra gets more and more astonishing and enjoyable. Who knows what the concert will have up its sleeve in 2015?