Ultra Music Festival
In 1999, Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes founded the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and today it has become one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world. What started as a one-day festival quickly grew to multiple days, but the real expansion was the expansion of the festival to locations around the world.
However, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami remains quite strong with attendants coming from around the world to see some of the latest performers in the electronic music field.
Business partners Faibisch and Omes created the first festival in 1999 and named it after a 1997 album from Depeche Mode. The festival was a one-day event held in Collins Park in Miami and some of the featured performers included Josh Wink, Paul Van Dyk, Rabbit in the Moon, and DJ Baby Anne. The inaugural festival was deemed a success with roughly 10,000 people attending, although it did lose money for Faibisch and Omes.
In March of 2000, the festival returned to Collins Park again and it was also deemed enough of a success that it garnered a renewal for a third year. This due mostly to the rise in attendance and revenues which helped keep the electronic dance music festival afloat. Because of the increase in attendance, it was decided to move the festival to the larger Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Recently the city of Miami decided not to renew Ultra's bid for Bayfront Park and although the festival will go ahead for 2019, the location is yet to be determined.
From 2001 to 2009, the biggest names in electronic dance music could be found at the annual Ultra Music Festival as it kept breaking attendance records every year. So, it was no surprise that the festival moved in 2006 and then expanded to two days the following year to contain the massive crowds. By its 10th anniversary, the festival featured many performers, including Paul Van Dyk who performed at the first festival to Annie Mac, Eric Prydz, and Moby just to name a few.
2009 to Present
The 2009 festival broke new attendance records with over 70,000 in the park to listen to the music. More mainstream and crossover acts were performing, such as The Black Eyed Peas, Santigold, and Perry Farrell. The success of the festival only continued to grow with over 100,000 attendees by 2011. The expansion of attendees coincided with the festival becoming a three-day event.
The festival moved back to Bayfront Park in 2012 because of the construction of the Miami Art Museum. With tickets selling out seconds after going on-sale, the Ultra Music Festival was gaining an even larger audience and big-name performers that included Fatboy Slim, Kraftwerk, and even Madonna in a surprise appearance.
In 2013, the festival stretched out over two weekends, but that was not considered desirable by the City of Miami. Although both weekends totaled a remarkable 330,000 attendees, the festival shifted back to its single-weekend approach afterwards.
Today, the Ultra Music Festival is considered one of the biggest live music event successes in the US. In 2008, Ultra Worldwide was created to host similar festivals around the world which continue to this day. From its humble beginnings as a single-day event with 10,000 attendees, this Miami electronic dance music festival now draws audiences and acts from around the world which make it a massive success.
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