MIAMI — For a while there, the fate of this year’s Ultra Music Festival — scheduled to kick off on Friday afternoon — seemed unclear. The night before the dance music get-together, two workers helping to set up were critically injured when a giant LED screen fell on the Main Stage, momentarily trapping them underneath. Festival organizers and emergency authorities sprang to action, though, hopeful the fest could go on.
Reps for UMF assured MTV News and the various media outlets reporting on the story that they were committed to the safety of festival-goers, and gates were tentatively set to open an hour later than originally scheduled, at 4 p.m. on Friday. So it wasn’t exactly on the dot, but doors did open at the stroke of 5 p.m. with the Miami crowd doing a New Year’s Eve-style countdown in the final seconds, before erupting in cheers.
And if you hadn’t known about the unfortunate accident going into the EDM fest, you might not have guessed that anything had happened the day before. Revelers didn’t seem to be dwelling on the stage mishap but rather, on the anticipation that comes with opening night. Still, the acts that MTV spoke to, including Fatboy Slim and Tritonal’s DJ/producer, Chad Cisneros, certainly expressed concern.
“Just because of what I do for a living, we’re always building these things [like large structures and screens], and we’re hoping that we’ve always got one eye on safety while we’re doing them for us and everyone,” Slim said. “So, yeah, obviously concerned about the people who got hurt. You know, it’s really lucky it happened before there [were] thousands of people in there.”
Cisneros, who was there with Tritonal partner Dave Reed, remarked on the annual fest, “We love playing this place every year, so I think people were a little bit on edge just because they want things to run smoothly and, you know, kudos to Ultra for … making sure the festival went off without a hitch.”
With UMF’s gathering finally under way, the attention turned to what was the first of the Swedish House Mafia’s finale performances. The trio of Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello have been teasing their farewell since last year, and their One Last Tour run hit the U.S. in February. Their Ultra stops mark what is already shaping up to be a memorable going-away celebration. While there were few major surprises for fans who’ve seen the Swedes onstage on their most recent leg, it was no less a classic SHM show.
Swedish singer John Martin was on hand to perform live and there were lots of fireworks during the energetic set but it was also hard to miss how emotional Ax, Sebastian and Angello were; they made their sincerity and appreciation felt. As the show closed out with a scrolling “thank you” note to fans and everyone who had worked with them, the Swede stars repeated their goodbye mantra: “We came, we raved, we loved.”