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UMF 2024 Recap: Rain or Shine, We Kept Raving

Ultra Music Festival (UMF) returned once again to Miami last month from March 22-24. Some 55,000 ravers from around the world gathered at Bayfront Park to experience the magic and music of this year’s festival. From mainstage headliners to underground sensations, the lineup boasted an impressive roster of DJs and producers, ensuring there was something for every taste and preference.

Testing the (Rain) Waters

In our eyes, Ultra Music Festival has always been a top tier festival. It’s incredible organization, star-studded lineup, and immaculate stage production make it truly one of our favorites. However, at this year’s festival, we saw UMF’s abilities put to the test as an unexpected headliner showed up late on the first night- the weather. A historic amount of rain, thunderstorms, and a tornado watch caused the festival to issue an emergency evacuation just after 9pm on Friday night. This unexpected turn of events necessitated some innovative rescheduling- delaying the festival’s start time to 4pm on Saturday. Despite these setbacks, UMF persevered. They worked out a deal with the City of Miami to extend the festival by one hour on Saturday, allowing some of Friday’s cancelled performances like Hardwell and Amelie Lens to be squeezed back into the lineup. By delaying Saturday’s start time, the UMF team worked tirelessly to ensure the venue was safe and ready for ravers to return the next day.

Production, Production, Production

For a festival of its size, Ultra pays great attention to the details. Each of the seven stages had its own unique design, from Main Stage’s triangular LED screens and firework displays to the World Wide stage’s 360-degree futuristic arch design. Some of the smaller stages like Oasis and the Live Stage had a more intimate feel, allowing fans to get closer to and feel more connected with the artist. One of the most impressive feats of the festivals- at least in my opinion- was the nightly drone show. With over 400 drones taking the sky each night, the drone show could be seen from all over the festival and featured some absolutely insane designs in the sky. Ultra truly continues to amaze us with the incorporation of technology into their festival production each year.

Top 5 Noteworthy Moments

1. The return of Calvin Harris

Amidst a festival brimming with surreal experiences, Calvin Harris‘ electrifying finale on the Main Stage on Sunday night stood out as an indisputable highlight. Making his long-awaited return after 11 years, Harris delivered a masterclass in crowd control, captivating us with timeless classics such as ‘Feel So Close’ and igniting frenzied techno-driven euphoria during his spectacular conclusion.

2. The collab we all needed but nobody expected… Armin x Bon Jovi

One of the most surprising highlights of the weekend occurred when Armin van Buuren welcomed rock icon Jon Bon Jovi to the stage. The duo unveiled a previously unheard collaboration—a spine-tingling remix by van Buuren of Bon Jovi‘s iconic 1992 hit, ‘Keep The Faith’.


Before Ultra officially kicked off, one of the undeniable highlights of its lineup was the rare back-to-back set featuring RL Grime, a highly esteemed figure in the electronic music realm, and Knock2, a rising star representing the genre’s future. Together, they delivered what could be argued as the standout performance of the weekend. At one thrilling moment, they even brought out another emerging talent, ISOxo, to debut an explosive collaboration, adding another layer of excitement to their already stellar set.

4. Kasablanca’s Comeback from Cancer

Kasablanca delivered a deeply touching moment during their Saturday night performance at the Live Stage. The synth-driven duo mesmerized the audience throughout their set, however, the best moment occurred when Micky Kasablanca took center stage to share his personal journey. Having recently battled cancer and undergone rigorous chemotherapy, Micky expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to perform once again. In a powerful display of resilience, the duo unveiled a new collaboration, serving as a beacon of hope amidst their adversity. This emotional and uplifting moment underscored the transformative power of music, reminding attendees of its ability to inspire and unite.

5. DNB!

Drum and bass is making a comeback, which was evident across Ultra Music Festival this year. Artists across stages incorporated some DNB mixes into their set, including a few noteworthy and completely unexpected drops from Martin Garrix. And of course, Chase & Status were there too. The DNB kings themselves have gained garnered attention from all over the electronic music world in the past few years, asserting themselves as experts in the genre and playing a set at Ultra that was truly unforgettable.

See You Next Year, Ultra Miami

As the final beats echoed across the festival grounds and the lights dimmed on another crazy weekend, Ultra Music Festival once again proved why it remains one of the premier events in the electronic music calendar. With its unbeatable lineup, stunning production, and commitment to innovation and sustainability, Ultra Music Festival 2024 left attendees eagerly awaiting next year’s edition, promising even bigger and better experiences on the horizon.

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