Finally, we had the chance to attend the European edition of the world’s most important electronic music festival: Ultra Music Festival.
Ultra Europe has grown exponentially year after year, offering stellar lineups and an event that’s just as impressive as the American version. It’s an experience that everyone should live at least once because the atmosphere when Ultra takes over is that of true electronic music enthusiasts, and the backdrop of the city of Split is unique.
The Park Mladezi, located in the city center, hosted the 9th edition of the festival with a lineup we described in our pre-festival articles. We focused on the main stage and updated you on our social media in real time. Now, here’s a brief recap.
Day1 – Ultra Europe 2023
The first day of hot weather and pleasant surprises. Ultra Europe is well-organized with three main stages, including the revamped main stage, which is even bigger, the RESISTANCE stage hosting the “underground” part, and the UMF Radio Stage dedicated to Revealed’s artists.
Plastik Funk starts off the 2023 edition from the main stage, followed by Oliver Heldens and Axwell, whose sets never disappoint. Unfortunately, the audio is a letdown, probably compromised by strong winds, making it nearly impossible to hear anything. Nevertheless, Axwell’s representation of the Swedish House Mafia still delights the audience. Even when the trio is complete, he tends to be the leader. The situation improves with Zedd’s arrival, drawing a packed crowd with a set filled with hits and nothing short of perfection. Seeing him at a festival is quite rare, and the crowd loves him (Video). Some epic mashups, fireworks, and incredible energy from him. Hardwell closes Day 1 late at night with his signature heavy set, his trademark sound. There are few surprises compared to his recent performances. Goosebumps from his remix of Miracle and a remarkable closing at dawn with some remixes at over 145 bpm, surely bringing joy to the nearby residents of Park Mladezi in Split.
Day 2 – Ultra Europe 2023
Day 2 of Ultra opens with a pleasant temperature, and the humidity from the previous day has been swept away by the wind, so we hope for better audio, and indeed it is. The supercharged MYKRIS warms up the crowd and fills the main stage to welcome Nora En Pure. Amid smiles and good vibes, Nora treats us to her usual incredible set. Eyes closed (ours too if you caught us on video), we dream of her astonishing music. The crowd’s appreciation is evident, with lots of applause and a nicely packed main stage.
Shortly after, Tchami sets the dancefloor on fire. His music is always a guarantee, and among the many highlights, there’s also the official premiere of his remake of Moby’s “In My Heart,” featuring Gregory Porter‘s vocals. Yes, it was a spectacle. DJ Snake’s remarkable vinyl-only performance brings a certain “boor” vibes. We aren’t huge fans, but his set was genuinely interesting, and the thousands of fans there for him thought the same. After all, this great artist’s biggest hits come from the last ten years. The absolute ‘madness,’ however, arrives with Timmy Trumpet and then Steve Aoki (Video). Between a trumpet solo and a cake in the face, the two know how to entertain the audience and ensure everyone has a blast.
Day3 – Ultra Europe 2023
We’re in the final moments, exhausted, but we position ourselves in the front row because the lineup for the third day is stellar. Fedde Le Grand doesn’t disappoint, and between mashups and some recent productions, he fills the main stage, making way for Morten and his Future Rave (Video). The guy took charge of bringing the format to this festival and did it excellently, but more importantly, he had a blast doing it, and it showed! Could big room music make a comeback? After all, it’s one of the festival’s founding genres. The straight and distorted bass got a boost from W&W‘s return to the scene. For us, it was the most fun set (Video) and loaded with pure musical energy. Great guys!
The absolute certainties of Afrojack and Martin Garrix don’t need to be confirmed; both proved to be festival animals, and the rest is history. A special mention for Garrix, who performed on a stage dedicated to him, with his logo on a custom LED wall. It’s time to go to sleep. Oh no, there’s Alesso. His past sets at Ultra Europe (EPIC) earned him the closing act of the European festival. With a highly elaborate set, occasionally straying from the genre we all want to hear from Alesso, he still deserved much appreciation. To close, impossible not to make everyone jump at dawn to the notes of “Calling” (Video). It was epic!
Among the most played tracks at the festival, hits of 2023, “Where You Are” by John Summit, in all its variations, stood out, along with the aforementioned “Miracle” by Calvin Harris and “So Much in Love” by D.O.D. In any case, Ultra proves to be a music festival that’s always cutting-edge and never dull.
But Ultra Europe is not just the main festival. As we told you in our article “Destination Ultra,” it’s a traveling event that sees the world’s best DJs for seven days, touring the spectacular lands of Croatia, including the islands. We attended the Regata Party on the island of Brac. The 585 music club hosted Gil Glaze, Joe2Shine, SEVEK, and the evening’s special guest, KSHMR. Among cocktails and beautiful people, it was a great way to keep the fun going even after three days of the festival.
Now, are you ready for the 10th-anniversary edition of Ultra Europe?