Ultra Music Festival's 16th Anything but Sweet, Though Still Potent

Ultra Music Festival Miami - H 2014
AP Images

Ultra Music Festival Miami - H 2014

The 2014 edition generates more than $223 million for the local economy, but may not return to the Miami area.

The 16th edition of the Ultra Music Festival was marred by violence and even death, but it didn’t seem to phase the 165,000 people from more than 90 countries who attended the event at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami last weekend. This marked the fifth consecutive year the festival has sold out.

According to an independent report by the Washington Economics Group, the six-day Ultra Music Festival’s economic impact on the Miami area was calculated at over $223 million.

The 2014 Ultra Live Stream produced by UMF TV garnered 9.7 million views from more than 190 countries in just three days, compared to last year’s viewership of just over 11 million when the festival was two weekends and six days long. One of the world’s leading DJs Hardwell closed out Sunday night on the gargantuan Main Stage, breaking the Swedish House Mafia’s live-stream record from their final-ever performance last year. With 223,562 being the peak number of concurrent live-views (the amount of people watching at any one time) this Sunday, Hardwell just surpassed the Swedes, breaking their 2013 second-weekend record of 210,769. 

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Ultra Music Festival was also the #1 trending item on Facebook (for three days straight) and Twitter, with every artist who participated in the live stream – Armin Van Buuren, Adventure Club, Krewella and more – landing in the Top 10 trending items worldwide.

With hundreds of world-class DJs and more than 100 live acts making their Ultra debuts, performing across eight stages over the entire weekend, the highlight was the Ultra Main Stage, designed and created by creative director Richard Milstein featuring mapping design by V Squred Lab’s Vello Virkhaus.

Appropriately dubbed “The Vortex,” this year’s Main Stage played host to the likes of Tiësto, Kaskade, Eric Prydz, pres. HOLO and Zedd on Friday; Martin Garrix, Krewella, Nicky Romero, Alesso, Above & Beyond and special guest deadmau5, who stepped in for an ailing Avicii on Saturday and Jack U, Afrojack, Steve Angello, David Guetta and Hardwell on Sunday. 

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Gesaffelstein, MGMT, M.I.A., Empire of the Sun, Basement Jaxx, 2ManyDJs, Sub Focus LIVE, Chase & Status, Wacka Flocka, Chance the Rapper, Trentemøller, Paul Kalkbrenner, Cut Copy, Dizzee Rascal, Gramatik and Infected Mushroom were among those who appeared on the Live Stage.

Friday and Saturday saw Carl Cox host the 10th Anniversary of his Carl Cox & Friends arena in the aptly named Megastructure, joined by the likes of Luciano, Loco Dice, Dubfire, Marco Carola, Maceo Plex, Umek, Pete Tong and Nic Fanciulli, among others. It was rebranded on Sunday into Armin Van Buuren’s ASOT 650 New Horizons Arena, featuring trance legends Paul Van Dyk, Aly & Fila, John O’Callaghan, New World Punx and Armin’s very own Gaia alias.

Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, RL Grime, DJ Snake, Carnage, Borgore, Adventure Club and more provided earth-shattering bass-head sets across Friday and Saturday. The UMF Radio stage showcased everything from dubstep, drum & bass and trap, to progressive, nu-disco and house, while this year’s brand-new Stage 7 was hosted by festival sponsors 7UP.

The scheduled dates for the 2015 festival, with its Miami location now up in the air, are March 27-29.