Cancelled? Nope. Turns out that was a pure speculation, and the annual electronic music festival was simply relocating from its homesite to the indoor Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The reception towards this news from diehard Ultranauts was less-than-positive, to say the least. Regardless, the event, returning for its fourth edition last weekend was a must-go for all EDM fanatics (like myself).
Right off the bat, there’s no denying that the change in venue has affected the festival ambiance. From dancing under the stars and on muddy grass, party-goers this year were congregated in a ‘small’ industrial hall and without the Worldwide Stage – a real bummer for fans of trap and future bass. The saving grace was the air-conditioning – something we’re guessing no one will object to.
Of course, there were still elements that made Ultra, Ultra. Like the overpriced food and drinks, to start. That meant a shrewd majority was chugging alcoholic beverages from the convenience store before entering the festival grounds. Now, considering that a large demographic of party-goers consist of teenagers and young adults who are probably suffering from money disorders, a cup of alcohol priced at over $14 may seemed short-changing. And depending on whether you were lucky or not, the cups were only half-filled most of the time.
Thankfully, LiHo came through with an assortment of comforting bubble teas, and were thoughtful enough to provide an oasis with fairy lights for party-goers to get a breather every once in a while. Funfair noshes such as skewers, chicken wings and truffle fries were also offered to combat those frequent hunger pangs. Though, unless one purchases the Premium ticket or arrives early, it was virtually impossible to get a table.
Compared to household names such as DJ Snake, Afrojack, and Nicky Romero headlining last year’s affair, this year’s lineup was rather lacklustre. As a result of Martin Garrix pulling out due to an unfortunate injury, the star power mostly shone from Axwell, Porter Robinson, and Skrillex.
Ultimately, the festival did provide what it’s known for: an adrenaline experience where people dance indiscriminately to electrifying beat drops. The first day saw sets from house prodigy Seth Hills, electro breakout Dyro, and progressive duo Matisse & Sadko. Maybe they were resting or didn’t find the music to their liking (snobby much?), but there were large herds of audience members seated on the floor, only heading for the dance arena when the talk of the night, Axwell, took the stage. He played his famous tracks Something New and More Than You Know, inciting the crowd to quite possibly damage their vocal cords.
You know what they say – second time’s a charm. After a queue of duos including the locally-born Rave Republic and Israel’s Infected Mushroom (cool name, by the way) got the audience pumped up, the second night was only getting started when Porter Robinson came up together with spellbinding Japanese-inspired animation. There was apparently a story to be conveyed, but not many were paying attention. We chalk it up to the addictive rush was coursing through our bodies.
The festival truly concluded with a bang as Skrillex threw out head-pounding remixes like Purple Lamborghini and his latest hit, Face My Fears. Complemented with pyrotechnics display and showers of confetti, it was evident that Ultra didn’t compromise on the stage production quality, which would be unforgivable if they ever did.
A *somewhat* successful Festival
Despite the lack of transparency from the management’s end, as well as multiple hiccups and controversies surrounding the event, Ultra Singapore 2019 still closed off on a high note, with the crowds reeling with emotion towards the end. And if you’re wondering about the fun factor, I’m currently dealing with leg cramps. I think that’s all that needs to be said.
Ultra Singapore 2019 took place from 8 to 9 June 2019 at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.