Over the weekend, Singapore played host to one of the world’s greatest EDM festivals – Ultra Music Festival. After receiving criticism last year over issues of crowd control and queueing, the team behind Ultra introduced new measures for a smoother festival this year.
Ultra Music Festival 2017 saw artists from all over the world coming to Ultra Park, otherwise known as Bayfront Avenue on a typical day. Among those who performed in Singapore for the first time were Indonesian rapper Rich Chigga, Pendulum and Knife Party as surprise guests who took over Don Diablo’s set.
Ultra also saw familiar faces like KSHMR and Hardwell, with the latter last here for ZoukOut 2016. Nicky Romero also returned to Singapore after playing at Road To Ultra 2015, affectionately proclaiming that Singapore had a special place in his heart as we were the first overseas venue he played at.
Other than the stellar lineup of international artists, Ultra also saw the support of a number of local artists that claimed the stage and rocked the crowd. These included MYRNE, Jasmine Sokko, Rave Republic, and Sam Rui.
However, the best part of the festival was the number of improvements made since last year’s rave.
Highlight #1: RFID and RFID Refunds
Ultra 2016 saw long queues that caused miserable ravers to miss sets as they stood in line. This was due to the slow internet caused by the sheer number of credit card payments being made onsite.
This year, Ultra Singapore implemented the RFID system, with RFID tags attached to the wristbands issued to festival-goers. This system was previously used at Road To Ultra 2015.
This allowed for festival-goers to top up a prepaid value in their wristbands, applicable for use throughout the festival grounds. These included the food village, merchandise store, drink stations and… Llao Llao at inflated prices. This system truly reduced waiting time and made transactions even more seamless.
In addition to the implementation of the RFID wristbands, festival-goers were also allowed to refund the amount leftover in their wristbands after the festival.
Highlight #2: More Food Options
This year, Ultra Singapore created a designated food village for both General Admission and Premium General Admission ticket holders. From pizza to $5 curry puffs, the food village served the hordes of ravenous ravers.
Meanwhile, a special section was also set up for PGA ticket holders. Food available here included Japanese rice sets (oh my god the rice sets), dessert brownies, and of course, alcohol.
While the gated PGA section seemed a bit exclusive, this measure was a great way to spread out the dinner crowds and ensure that everyone had access to food quickly.
Highlight #3: Bigger and Better stages
The Ultra Singapore Main Stage grew in size, with the 26-metre tall structure entertaining a crowd of 50,000, and the speakers only failed once!
With more screens, the stage was also equipped with fireworks, laser lights and assorted pyrotechnics.
But The Mud and Rain…
The skies opened and poured heavily on ravers during Hardwell‘s set on Day 1, soaking everyone regardless of how dressed up they were for the occasion. Still, these passionate festival-goers braved the rain and stayed on for the music. Bo bian, right?
Pools of murky mud soon appeared after the rain and festival-goers had to trudge through multiple puddles that somehow remained on Day 2.
Still, Ultra Music Festival Singapore 2017 was a huge success to the 50,000 strong crowd and we hope for an even greater Ultra Singapore next year!
Keep culture journalism alive, at just the price of a kopi. For a little bit more, get access to exclusives and a monthly gift box. Donate at patreon.com/popspoken