Ultra 2019 just wrapped up day 1, and while production and artistry seemed to go about as smooth as possible, the festival did not make it out of the woods.
Reports are starting to flood in about day 1 of Ultra: shuttle issues, production fire, artist cancellations, and the poor attempt at humor from KFC. This festival seemed to be one of the brands who would never fall victim to this kind of festival negligence, but day 1 is starting to resemble Atlanta’s ill-fated Tomorrowworld 2015.
New Venue Virginia Key logistical failure
After originally being kicked out its home in downtown Miami, Ultra took the steps needed to move this year’s festival to Virginia Key, a venue home not too far from their original bayfront venue. While this seemed like a logical solution, longtime festival professionals warned of the transportation issues getting fans from the venue back to the mainland.
The transportation issue frustration began to percolate after 1 a.m., as lines formed outside the festival gates to get on the shuttle buses to take them back to the mainland. A mass of more than 50,000 people tried to leave all at once after the final performance, around 2 a.m. It turned out to be a chaotic exit for a tired morass of revelers who quickly grew frustrated with long lines to board 55-passenger buses.
This clearly brings fans back to Tomorrowworld, in which similar situations happened after the finish of the festival. Fans were forced to wait hours for a shuttle, or walk over three miles to reach the mainland in the middle of the pouring rain.
— David Gonzalez (@DavidGonzKHOU) March 30, 2019
Fire ignites from fireworks
As people poured out of the festival grounds, firefighters rushed to extinguish a tree that caught fire in an area sealed off from attendees. The fire was located not too far from the main stage. It’s assumed that fireworks caused the blaze.
— EDM.com (@TheEDMNetwork) March 30, 2019
— mycayla 🌻🌿🌊 (@Mycaylaaa_) March 30, 2019
The cringe-worthy Colonel Sanders set
What an epic failure this was. Ultra & KFC decided that it would be appropriate and funny to allow a fake Colonel Sanders to perform a 5-minute set during the start of day 1. The set saw a man dressed as Sanders, wearing a large fake head, performing for fans. The moment was both awkward and cringe-worthy to say the least. We totally understand the need for sponsorships from large brands, but this was a joke of an attempt by both KFC & Ultra.
Fans & artists alike did not take this to heart well. Louis The Child notably made a post against the move, as did Marshmello. You know when Marshmello – who also wears a large fake prop head – calls you out, you probably did something pretty goofy. This is a HUGE step backward for dance music, and Ultra should be ashamed at itself for allowing this travesty to take place. All in the name of capitalism babyyyyyyyy.
A smarter move by KFC? Pay for extra shuttles for all of those leaving Ultra at the end of the night.
watch the terrible moment unfold below.
But will day 2 of Ultra be any better? We aren’t sure it could get any worse… but stay tuned for more coverage.