Set every year to coincide with the annual Winter Music Conference in Miami, Florida, is the Ultra Music Festival (UMF), an electronic music Festival that in 2013 book-ended the Conference.
Ultra was, in 2007 when it first started, a one-day music Festival and it stayed that way until 2010. It changed to a two-day festival in 2011 and stayed that way in 2012 also, when 55,000 people attended each day of the festival, a new record. Last year, for the first time, the Ultra Music Festival occurred over two consecutive weekends, one before the Winter Music Conference and the second one the weekend afterwards.
This year it returned to a one weekend format and was held on the 28th of March through the 30th. It’s a very popular concert, to say the least, and when presale tickets went on sale last year they sold out in a matter of minutes. As for standard tickets, they lasted a little bit longer but by the last day of the event had all been sold out as well.
The Ultra Music Festival isn’t just held in United States however, it’s been held all over the world in a number of different cities and countries including Ibiza, Spain, São Paulo Brazil, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile, Seoul South Korea, Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa, Croatia, and, for the first time last year, Bogotá, Colombia.
Interestingly, when the Ultra Music Festival and Ultra Records announced a global alliance in August of 2012, many people assumed that they were the same company because of the fact that they have the same first name, but that’s actually not true. They did promote their global alliance in order to collaborate and cross promote together, but they are two different entities as far as business is concerned.
The festival was founded by Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes and Bruce Braxton. The three men were business partners and wanted to put together a one-day event in Miami that was held at South Beach at the end of the Winter Music Conference. The performers that year were Rabbit in the Moon and DJ Baby Anne and it was an amazing success. That of course spurred them to hold the event the following year and, in March 2000, the second Ultra Music Festival was held to even more success and critical acclaim.
Last year was the 15th anniversary and, to celebrate 15 years of awesome music in Miami, the Ultra Music Fest was held during two weekends instead of one.
With the huge increase in attendance from the 1999 to the 2000 festival, it was decided that it should be moved to downtown Miami and Bayfront Park.
Some of the biggest names in electronic dance music have attended the Ultra Music Festival over the years including EC Twins, Paul Van Dyke, Paul Oakenfold, Sander Kleinenberg, Josh Wink, Lasers, DJ craze and Rabbit in the Moon.
In 2005 the festival broke another attendance record and it was relocated again to Bicentennial Park for the 2006 and 2007 festival. 2007 also saw the festival stretch to two days instead of one and, with 50,000+ in attendance, it broke another record yet again.
The festival held its 10th anniversary in March 2008 and set a new record for the city of Miami for the number of tickets sold for a single concert event, with 70,000 in attendance (estimated). Although the festival leans heavily toward electronic music, at the 11th annual Ultra Music Festival in 2009 a number of different musical acts and bands showed up including The Black Eyed Peas, Crystal Castles, Perry Farrell, The Prodigy and the Ting Tings.
The festival sold out for the first time in 2010 and had over 100,000 people come to watch the festivities and listen to groups like The Bloody Beetroots, Above and Beyond, Little Boots, Orbital and more. Many of the bands were also accompanied by VJs including Vello Virkhaus and Cozer.