In the weeks leading up to Ultra Singapore 2019, the festival had been torn to shreds because of speculations of legal issues, the withdrawal of headliner Martin Garrix, and the change in location.
A day before Ultra Singapore 2019 was set to take place, it was reported that a winding-up application for Ultra Singapore Pte Ltd had been filed. Led by serial entrepreneurs Alex Chew and Raj Datwani, the famous dance music festival held in Singapore was faced with at least eight lawsuits for sums ranging from $3,745 to $74,686.
To add fuel to the fire, it was also announced that the festival would be moved indoors due to “expected severe weather”.
Typically held at Ultra Park, an open field next to Marina Bay Sands, the venue was shifted to a smaller capacity at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. This also meant that the unique stage designs and pyrotechnics used in a typical Ultra festival would no longer be the same ones used in the new indoor venue.
Delivering the final blow to the speculations and drama, Dutch mainstay Martin Garrix also had to pull out of the festival in an unprecedented move. He made a public press statement to explain that he had sustained a serious ankle injury during a show in Las Vegas, and had to cancel all his shows – including the one in Singapore.
Amidst the gloom and doom, the show still went on.
On the afternoon of the first day, Saturday 8 June, grey skies and torrents of rain turned out to be a great sign, especially for the management.
In the newly-shifted indoor venue, the space was perfectly utilised. Major attractions were the two stages – the Main Stage and Resistance Stage – and a bunch of booths selling overpriced yet interesting snacks and drinks. The Resistance Stage was a much more subdued and compact area as compared to The Main Stage, which was a larger and dedicated area where party-goers headed to go nuts. The absence of Ultra Miami’s signature Worldwide Stage also did not seem to pose a serious issue, as the variety of genres on both stages played out nicely without compromising the quality of the individual DJ’s sets.
Despite not having the event under the sun, the traditional festival outfits remained consistent with previous years, so the change in venue clearly did not dampen the fashion enthusiasts’ mood to dress up for the annual event. An unspoken perk of the event’s new indoor venue, the air-conditioning became a blessing in disguise. Unsurprisingly, no one complained about having the entire venue chilled, as it allowed festival-goers to bathe in the festival atmosphere without bathing in sweat.
It was also interesting to notice that security and safety measures were ramped up, especially since the organisers were armed with the knowledge that a dark indoor venue had the potential to be more dangerous and unpredictable.
At the Ultra Singapore Festival held last weekend, the large battalion of security guards and safety personnel ensured that there were no incidents of concern throughout the two days. Contrary to what Travis Scott says in his hit, Stargazing, “It ain’t a moshpit if ain’t no injuries” – the attendees of Ultra Singapore 2019 were blessed with a danger-free party zone.
In the music department, Day One’s acts were nothing spectacular, which saw sets from Dutch DJs Brooks, Dyro, and Sydney-born DJ Scotty Cal.
It seemed like the audience were conserving their energy for closing act Axwell, as they only started giving the dance floor some action with some stomps and vocal strains.
Known for his famous tracks “More Than You Know” and “Sun is Shining”, the headliner pulled off dramatic builds and dips in energy to create a set that was not just fun, but was also filled with emotion.
The second day of Ultra Singapore 2019, however, was a different story. The sets featured unique styles of electronic dance music, evoking a variety of sensations from the crowd.
Infected Mushroom, an Israeli duo who played as a supporting act for Ultra Singapore 2019, struck out with their brand of psytrance music, putting the Singaporean audience in a stupor. Their remix of “Numb” was one of the best we have ever heard.
When the DANAMIC team got the chance to talk to the duo later, they shared how electronic music has evolved into something much more professional over the 20 years that they have been performing. For example, the seamless sound systems like the ones in the Sands Expo and Convention Centre have helped to give a more impactful set.
They also told us about the time they first heard about headliner Skrillex: Long before Skrillex blew up as the biggest dubstep DJ in the world, the Infected Mushroom duo received a Skrillex track from a friend of theirs. Upon listening, they exclaimed: “This is f***ing amazing – this kid is going to be huge one day“.
Fast forward to the end of day two, the talk of Infected Mushroom’s interview, Skrillex, is more than huge. His influence in the music industry is undeniable, and he almost single-handedly brought dubstep the acceptance it possesses today.
Opening with his remix of “Sicko Mode” and closing with his juggernaut hits “Cinema” and “Bangarang“, Skrillex’s set was full of mass appeal. His trademark dark and distorted beats gave the audience an experience like no other. Thanks to Skrillex, we almost forgot that we were mad about Martin Garrix’s cancelled show.
Ultimately, Ultra Singapore 2019 proved that it was not just another Fyre Festival in the making. With its flawless indoor sound system, a selectively enthusiastic crowd, and exceptional performers, it had the potential to become the megawatt dance music festival that it is known for… if only the organisers had given more thought to the acts in Day One.
Photos by Yang Yew of the DANAMIC team