Kelly's event may be more high-minded, but there's no denying that, in terms of pure numbers, WMC attendance has become interdependent with Ultra.

In 2011, WMC pushed forward with its earlier dates, and attendees saw a more muted conference than in years past. Ultra, on the other hand, saw record attendance levels for its first three-day event.

Faibisch notes that "when [WMC] announced their [2012] dates, they were back in line with ours."

Ultra debuted in 1999 on Miami Beach with a modest setup.
Courtesy of Ultra Music Festival
Ultra debuted in 1999 on Miami Beach with a modest setup.
An early shot of DJ/producer Tiësto.
Courtesy of Ultra Music Festival
An early shot of DJ/producer Tiësto.

Ophir notes that Ultra can make it difficult for nightclubs to book acts because it makes artists sign aggressive exclusivity contracts — legal agreements stipulating that acts cannot play at competing venues during the festival nor 60 days prior and after. In effect, the acts at Ultra cannot play at most South Florida venues from January to May, thus creating demand when they show up at Ultra.

But Ophir can't deny that, ultimately, Ultra's power is "definitely a positive thing." His nightclub will be booked solid during the week of Ultra.

Downtown at Miami's Bayfront Park, people lie on the grass, and a trapeze school's equipment is the only thing that stands out from the greenery. But in late February, the whole park, save for a children's area, closes to the public for more than a month to make way for multiple stages and the 15th incarnation of Ultra. Faibisch climbs a hill and points out where the massive Bayfront stage will go and how Biscayne Bay in the background will frame it. "Here's where it's going to be," he says proudly, imagining the majesty of it.

"When you go to the festival and you see the production and the amount of stages and quality on those stages and the lineup we put out and the money it costs to book those people, in addition to whatever we have to pay the city... that's why you don't see any other electronic music festival in the world that has this kind of lineup. No one does it. We do it."

Driving over the Julia Tuttle Causeway, the city skyline hovering over the water, he sighs.

"Ah, I love Miami," he says, and presses the gas on his Porsche Boxster.

Zachary Fagenson contributed to this report.

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29 comments
Tim Pritchard
Tim Pritchard

There's definitely some pros at Ultra Festival. Not really my music scene but a party is a party & Ultra is a huge f'ing party. Party on Wayne.

sticks_7
sticks_7

Ultra Music Festival Hope to see You in 2014 watched 2013 Sets were amazing especially liked hardwell, armin van buren, Skrillex and david guetta.

MusicLover
MusicLover

ULTRA has evolved into the Epitome of Cultural & Human Decadence but if it generates money then why not right? Everyone's for sale and so Miami will become another Vegas. Way to push the culture forward!


mickeybailbonds
mickeybailbonds

I've been there with Russell through Amoeba, Magical Maydaze and Ultra.  Will ALWAYS have much love for Ultra and Russell.  I wish I had stayed in Miami and continued through the process with Russ, but after 08 and The Cure, there wasn't much else to conquer.  EDM has become WAYYY too commercialized.  Russell gave me a hand at getting into the bailbond business and has had an extremely positive impact in my life.  I love him dearly (and Charlie, too, but not so much Adam).  Keep doing your thing, boys, and stop listening to the assholes like "the ultra truth"; you guys make Miami proud!!!

theultratruth
theultratruth

THIS FAMILY HAS ACCEPTED MONEY FROM SOME OF THE MOST HIGH PROFILED CRIMINALS IN THE WORLD. SAY WHAT YOU ARE PROUDLY AND STOP TRYING TO BE A VICTIM! YOU ARE NO MARK ZUCKERBERG! YOUR A MAJOR DIRTY PLAYER IN THE GAME! LOOK I'M MAKING YOU FAMOUS!

theultratruth
theultratruth

"WE THE PUBLIC, FEEL THAT WE ARE BEING PLAYED" 

"GIVE MUSIC BACK TO THE PEOPLE" YES TO EDM !! NO TO ULTRA !!

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

Might wanna publish the short list of who got paid kickbacks along the way too. Notice how the dead grass in the park and crowd issues downtown disappeared for weekend #2 when they paid off the city for another $ 500K ? Guess someone's kid needed braces or that college fund needed seed money ? Who knows, maybe it was a house upgrade just the same ?

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

i wanna see the story behind WMC...that should be good

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande topcommenter

Nice clip, well-written, plenty of scope and context.. 

As usual, Mr. Ophir sounds like a snob. 

Two weeks of Ultra is a horrible idea for downtown corridor...



smeejay
smeejay

You should be a teacher.

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

@theultratruth @Jimbo99 That's the key to most anything, make that money on the front end and the back end of it all too. It's the bait/lure of an extravagant event. I think those that got arrested on drug charges, well if they aren't smart enough to figure it out, there's having a good time and then just making an azz out of yourself.

theultratruth
theultratruth

@Jimbo99 @theultratruth maybe this has more to do with just being arrested at ultra. maybe it has to do with morality, and codes we live by as human beings.     ::::::::focus on the light going off in your head, and not the one flashing in front of your face:::::   

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

@theultratruth @Jimbo99 Again, we're talking about Ultra & being arrested and needing to be bailed out of jail. Why would one get arrested at Ultra ? Probably because that person is making an azz out of themselves. Urinating in public ? Looking for a hooker ? Public intoxication ? On some controlled substance(s) ? Fighting ? Those that can't conduct themselves in a socially responsible manner are for the most part the troublemakers that wind up needing bail bond services. If one doesn't want to take that risk, stay away from the event ?

As for someone that attempted to kill another ? One would have to wonder what the alleged victim did to merit that kind of response. People generally have no reason to try to kill anyone. Not unless you did something to drive them to do that ? Did you rip them off or screw them over in a big enough business dealing, whether it was legal or illegal ? Or was it because someone slept with another's wife ? In any scenario, there is cause & effect. Just me, but sometimes exercising a little judgement & common sense, you have to know when it's time to go to sleep every night ? The acid test for anything should be whether whatever happened was good for all involved.

theultratruth
theultratruth

@Jimbo99 @theultratruth you don't have to do drugs or be drunk to end up in jail. I didn't read half of what you wrote but I know what it's about. now that the issue is more to light......we don't need bail bonds man....actually its just another unnecessary process in the system. why can't we pay within the confides of jail itself? Also, let's say for example someone try's to kill you, but lets say its not booked as attempted murder, then that person can bond out and kill your ass. I don't expect you to have any morals, I just hope you do. But then again your probably hypnotized by Ultra and all the fireworks. Your all sheep. Unless your a wolf too.

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

@theultratruth @Jimbo99 That's the point, nobody I know has ever been in jail and going there isn't an option in my lifetime or theirs, we're law biding citizens not losers. My life is drug free, and that includes alcohol. Anyone that needs an illegal substance to feel/experience life deserves to be in jail in my opinion, because that's what the rules are. I don't want to be around anyone doing or selling drugs, because inevitably they'll wind up in jail. Drugs are a game that being the loser on or selling them is what makes you the police department's customer. Raise the standards for yourself and those in your life and bail bond scumbags are the last people in this community you'll ever meet in your lifetime. Those that went to Ultra on drugs put themselves in a position to have bail bond people become a part of their life. I'm not looking to finance their lifestyle. If I stand in line at a store to make a purchase, that's longer than I want them around me just the same as the drug addicts and abusers.

 
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