It's been almost a week since Ultra South Africa came and knocked us off our feet and into the air in a a frenzy of song and dance. Bigger, better and more louder than 2014, this years event sure did not disappoint. Cape Town kicked off proceedings with an Ultra exclusive event hosted by Uber which saw a select few who have the Uber app and were quick on the button, go on a sunset party cruise with Goldfish, Oliver Heldens and Martin Garrix. Seeing videos and pictures from the cruise made everyone who wasn't there extremely jealous but we had the next two days to party with those legends and thousands of others.
Cape Town's show saw an increase in numbers since last year and everyone was blown away from the performances but since I and the many others were going for the Joburg leg, we had to wait one more day to experience the greatness that is Ultra South Africa. Gates opened 11am sharp, with scores of people starting to trickle in, many already having attended pre-ultra parties and were psyched to start the celebrations. With 3 stages and endless amounts of talent ranging from local to top listed internal DJ's, it was bound to be an incredible day no matter what form of electronic music you fancied.
The UMF Radio stage seemed to be place to be for early goers as the area was packed to catch the on stage DJ's but as the hours went by and the numbers came pouring in by the thousands, the place filled up. Whether you were in General, VIP, VVIP or back stage like some of us, the vibe and energy was amazing to experience. On the main stage Rodger Goode, Goldfish, FeU and Mark Stent warmed the crowd up with their mixtures of local electronic, house and tribal music until the first headliner hit the stage.
Oliver Heldens, the youngster from the Netherlands came onto raptures from the crowd, having never played in SA before, Ultra SA Jhb leg was his second time and the ovation he received was well deserved. Following him saw Canadian dance music duo brothers Chris and Alex Andre, better known as DVBBS (pronounced dubz) come on, the live interaction between them and the crowd was something to behold with many rating them as their favourites from the day.
As the sun began to set and the air began to cool, the entertainment started to heat up with a repeat from last year taking to the decks. Martin Garrix has been sensational over the past few years in the EDM scene, producing hit after hit and climbing up the DJ Mag list as well as beatport lists, it no wonder why many who have been in the industry for a while now hold him in such high regard. The kid is a talent and he proved again, with another mind blowing set, coupled with pyro's and laser lights. He sent the crowd into a frenzy when he played his latest hit featuring Moti, "Virus".
With the sun completely gone and the crowd amped, it was time for the number DJ in the world to make his mark on the number 1 dance music festival on the continent. Hardwell who last toured the country back in Decemeber 2012 was back with a bang. With plenty of new work and some crowd favourite oldies, it was exceptional set for the guy who's ranked above them all in the world for two years in a row now. Having seen the best in the business, you would think it would be hard to top that but step in the legend of Trance, the one, the only, Armin van Buuren.
Fresh from his ASOT700 world tour, Armin just went to prove that no matter what number he's ranked, he is still one of the best in the world. With his uplifting beats, 3D electronic show and his new stage trick where he controls the lights with the movements of his hands, left the crowd spell bound. He played most of his new work and towards the end brought out some classics that have been re-worked, most notably his mashup of Exploration of Space by Cosmic Gate and Andrew Rayel's remix of Insomia by Faithless. It's probably one of the best sets I've heard from Armin, to see him on stage, in his element, doing what he does best to please us, his fans was unreal.
Feet aching, back breaking from walking around the whole day from the media tent to the various stages, we had to muster up energy for one final act on the mainstage but while Axwell and Ingrosso took time for their stage setup, some of us made our way down tot he Electric Music Stage to catch the opening 30 minutes of Gorgon City, many felt they deserved their own time slot on main stage but can see why the organisers decided to let them close off things on that side of the park, With hits such as "Real", "here for you" and many adoring SA fans, there was quite a crowd to see them play.
With the stage finally ready and the voice of Ultra Damian Pinto ready to introduce them, it was time for the lass stage act of the night. Axwell and Ingrosso have joined forces again after the break of up Swedish House Mafia, whether they'll go onto the same success as they did when Steve Angello was still part of the group remains to be seen but they are heading in the right direction. Their set, although consisting a lot from their SHM days was phenomenal and for me having missed the SHM tour, sort of made up for it. Axwell, true to his nature grabbed the mic and got the crowd going, it was a great way to close off what has been an amazing 14 hours of music ecstasy. The crowd begged for more after their set seemed to have ended and they responded with probably their greatest SHM hit, "Dont you worry child" , an amazing fireworks display to end off saw the thousands that made their way to Nasrec that day leave with a massive smile on their face knowing that they were part of something special and already at the back of their mind, planning next years visit.
Big thanks to Electric Music, AmpliconPR, Ultra South Africa and SMG Rocks for making this trip for me possible. See you guys next year for Ultra SA 2016!