Ultra Music Festival 2015's opening day was wet. Very wet. And the drizzles, showers, and storms eventually led to four of the fest's seven stages being temporarily shut down.
At about 6 p.m., the rain started falling. It was light. But then ominous dark clouds blew over downtown Miami, past the condos and high rises, toward Ultra's festival grounds at Bayfront Park.
The initial downpour lasted only ten minutes. But it was enough to drench all party people not wearing ponchos or without access to a fallen UMF banner to shield themselves.
Yep, throughout the night, we saw dozens of people turn official fest signage into makeshift shelters as the elements tore them down.
It had been a month of nearly no precipitation and hurricane season was still 65 days away.
But meteorologists had been predicting rain since the beginning of the week. And it turned out that Miami got 0.36 inches, which doesn't sound like a lot. Except it was the second heaviest downfall in March, not to mention three times the daily average for this time of year.
Basically, it got soggy, bro. The drizzles, showers, and storms continued, off and on, with the most intense downpour coming between about 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., as the wind blew slashing rain over Ultra for almost a solid hour.
The result: Delays and cancelations on the Live Stage, UMF Radio Stage, Stage 7, and Resistance Stage.
Scheduled to take the Live Stage at 8 p.m., Odesza's set was initially delayed a half hour. By 8:58, though, the Seattle duo (surely used to rainy days) tweeted, “Ultra, unfortunately due to rain/high wind we aren't able to play tonight. Hopefully we're back soon.”
The next act, Chromeo, also got canceled. “ULTRA WE'RE SO SORRY,” the Montreal twosome tweeted. “Couldn't play because of the rain. Bummed. Would've been our first #ultra. Sad funklordz.” Over at the Resistance Stage, Maceo Plex noted the delays, tweeting: “Rain and a tiny little uncovered area for Underground music at @ultra , disapointing. But atleast some amazing ravers hanging in there.”
Meanwhile, the UMF Radio Stage went dark for hours. But only two acts — Michael Brun and Syn Cole — were nixed. Scheduled for a 7 p.m. set, Firebeatz was pushed back an hour. Then Don Diablo, Vinai, and headliner EDX managed to close the night by squeezing three sets into the hour and 45 minutes before midnight.
So yes, as the clock ticked toward 11 p.m., the weather finally broke. And Ultra's stages mostly resumed their normal programming, with the night's Live Stage headliner, Norway's Royksopp, playing its planned closing set for an enthusiastic yet exhausted, waterlogged, and thinned crowd. But there were three Ultra stages where the party never stopped raging. And the ravers never stopped stomp-dancing in puddles. As mostly enclosed structures, the Main Stage (an enormous box with three five sides), Carl Cox & Friends Arena (a dome with retractable side panels), and Ultra Worldwide (a fat arching shielding the crowd and stage) are designed to outlast the rain and other natural nuisances.
So Ultra 2015's Live Stream went uninterrupted, as Tiësto, Avicii, Carl Cox, Marco Carola, Alesso, Afrojack, Zeds Dead, GTA, Andy C, Excision, and a dozen other DJs saw no delays, cancellations, or shut downs.
The only blip on those three stages, as Andy C mentioned: “Ultra that was incredible...can't believe the rain killed the sound just as we were live! Gutted...the vibes inside were amazing.”
But like Afrojack howled from the Main Stage during a mid-evening downpour: “If you don't give a fuck about the rain, screeeeeeam!”