Ultra Music Festival returns to Cape Town for its fifth instalment on 9 and 10 February 2018. As part of Ultra Worldwide, the festival showcases some of the top local and international electronic music performers.
From its inception, the festival has stood as an inspiration of the reach and joy that can be had by simply going out and having a great time.
Inaugurated in Miami in 1999, Ultra has, from the beginning, gone hard.
The first festival – which took place over one day – included such luminaries of the electronic scene as Paul van Dyk, Rabbit in the Moon and Josh Wink.
Held in Miami, the first Ultra Festival saw ten thousand attendees; the organisers, however, still saw a loss on that first venture.
It wasn’t until the second year of the festival that things picked up. And once they did, they picked up quickly.
By 2001 the numbers had more than doubled, with more than twenty thousand concert-goers coming together to again watch the biggest names in electronic music – among them DJ Tiesto, Robin Fox, Paul Oakenfield and Paul van Dyke.
2007 saw Ultra Festival move to a two-day format, the dominant form of the festival ever since.
In the next year, Ultra went global: Ultra Brasil brought the same high-powered line-up that had defined the Miami event. Its growth continued, and now this landmark festival is a string of events that give audiences around the world.
The nearly two-decade history of Ultra Festival and its many incarnations has undoubtedly had an impact on the landscape of electronic music.
With hundreds of thousands of attendees globally, the festival has helped expose electronic music to the mainstream, raising a generation on the stars of the genre.
The influence of the musicians seen at Ultra and other festivals of its ilk has had a lasting impact on the production of modern music, as electronic methods of creating music bleed into the mainstream.
The hunger for the music heard at Ultra has helped the rise of services like Spotify and Soundcloud, as many artists who perform at the festivals use these platforms to debut and market new mixes.
In South Africa, Ultra inspires by bringing together artists that many local music lovers may not be able to see otherwise.
The 2018 edition of Ultra in Cape Town takes place in Cape Town Stadium. The stadium, designed for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, turns into a carnival for electronic music lovers, and the surrounding city and bars are sure to experience an eclectic influx of party-goers.
If you’re interested in taking part of the unique experience that is Ultra, it’s suggested that you avoid public transport – while it’s an option, it’s almost certainly going to be packed.
For those visiting Cape Town for the festival, a far better option is a hire car: not only does it allow you to set your own schedule, but you’ll be able to experience the wider Cape Town surrounds as well.