Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: Ultra Music Festival 2023

Every year, Ultra Music Festival attracts tens of thousands of music lovers from around the globe, making it one of the most anticipated events in the electronic community all year.

Held annually in the heart of Miami, this three-day festival showcases some of the biggest names in EDM, as well as up-and-coming artists who are making waves in the industry.

With stunning visuals, heart-thumping beats, and an electric atmosphere, Ultra promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the highlights of the festival and what makes it such a must-see event for all electronic music fans.

Vibes: B+

This year the vibes were high, people travel from all over the world to get to Ultra, which makes the energy within the festival that much more lively.

Whether it was someone’s first time or you are an Ultra vet, everyone came with their best smile and dancing shoes on ready to explore Bayfront Park and all the sounds being presented to us throughout the weekend.

The only part that affected people’s energies was how crowded certain parts of the venue got throughout the days; nothing like a packed stage (i.e. RESISTANCE during Eric Prydz’ HOLO show) with people pushing and shoving to bring down someone’s mood. With packed stages also comes pick-pocketing, and there were a lot of phones being stolen this year.

Overall the PLUR energy outweighed the crowds of a huge festival making it one of the best Ultras yet.

Venue: C

Bayfront Park is nested in downtown Miami, making it quite a limited venue for such a massive festival. However, we understand that this is the only venue in the city that can properly host Ultra. However, when you have a crowd of eager festival-goers piling up, it gets a bit uncomfortable.

For example, the cluster between the food and bathroom lines near The Cove stage was hard to get through during busy hours. During a few of the headliner sets you could also notice and hear people saying they couldn’t move and didn’t know how to get out, which could cause safety issues.

Getting there early is the move so you can explore and learn the grounds before the wave of people comes. We also heard some mixed experiences with security; some said security was strict, while others mentioned that they were lacking.

Sometimes, it took up to 45 minutes just to get overpriced drinks or to use the bathroom, but it’s worth mentioning that Ultra is the only electronic music festival in America that offers GA attendees non-porto bathroom options.

This year, they made a major upgrade in their GA bathroom facilities, providing a few more options for attendees. In addition, festival organizers added a few more water stations compared to last year, but they were quite difficult for us to locate. We think it is always important to have easy, accessible, and free water options throughout the park to ensure attendee wellness during the weekend.

Production: A

The production at Ultra Music Festival this year left us at a loss for words. The organizers did a great job at fitting seven stages in Bayfront Park, and they all had their own touch. From pyro to visuals and fireworks.

Even with the festival grounds not being that big there was no sound bleed throughout the stages, keeping everyone in their own element at each stage.

Production, as always, was insane. The new stage, The Cove, was awesome but it was painful for everyone’s ears. It was uncomfortably loud. 

The main stage & Resistance Megastructure design was top-of-the-line this year enhancing attendees’ experience with not just music but also visual aesthetic as well. Within the megastructure they had LED cubes moving throughout the set and nothing beats Eric Pyrdz’s holographic screen for his legendary HOLO show. 

Music: A

Ultra always brings one of the most diverse lineups to the electronic community starting the festival season off strong.

Between Swedish House Mafia closing the festival with their drone show, KX5, Eric Prydz, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, and MIA there was plenty of opportunity for everyone to find where their energy was most fulfilled.

The techno was out of this world this year with two Carl Cox sets, Tales of Us, and Nicole Moudaber.

The Live Stage was also amazing because it brings unique acts like Grimes and CloZee to Ultra completely throwing attendees into a different realm as soon as they arrive at the stage.

The bass stayed strong on the Worldwide stage with GG Magree, Subtronics, Deathpact, Moore Kismet, and more.

Overall, Ultra is the perfect representation of a music festival giving attendees plenty of exciting acts. Whether new or familiar, there is something for everyone to discover.

Overall: B+

Ultra Music Festival will always go down in the books as one of the most innovative electronic dance events in the world. We love the constant need for evolution Ultra carries. Whether it is with production or music, you can always count on a cutting-edge experience.

The venue will always seem small compared to the volume of attendees, so logistics will always be a slight problem. Focusing on how to improve the GA experience is a must. Things like more water and better access to bathrooms and affordable food and drinks.

The international energy throughout the festival always raises morale across the weekend because everyone truly came there to do the same thing and that’s get lost in the music.

With a lineup so diverse and seven stages to get down at there is a never-ending flow of discovery that will always keep Ultra at the top of the dance Industry.

Photos all courtesy of Ultra

Written by
Emily Harvey

Aspiring Florida Journalist/Photographer enjoying the world and all the music it has to offer.

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