Ultra Music Festival

Ultra Music Festival 2022 Day Three: Hardwell, David Guetta, and Reinier Zonneveld

Hardwell was the surprise guest on the final day of Ultra Music Festival. See more photos from Ultra Music Festival 2022 day three here.
Hardwell was the surprise guest on the final day of Ultra Music Festival. See more photos from Ultra Music Festival 2022 day three here. Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
On the final day of Ultra Music Festival 2022, rumors were swirling that Dutch producer Hardwell would be the unannounced special guest on the Main Stage. That turned out to be true when he took the stage at 9 p.m. for his first live performance in over three years. He also took the opportunity to announce his upcoming Rebels Never Die Tour, which will take him all around the globe for the rest of the year.

It was the perfect ending for Ultra, which definitely showed its strength at its longtime home at Bayfront Park. While the 2019 shift to Virginia Key offered more space, Bayfront Park feels like the right spot for the festival. There's something magical about dancing surrounded by towering skyscrapers. Ultra feeds off the city's energy, so here's hoping the festival and downtown residents can continue to coexist in relative harmony.

Here's what else happened on day three of Ultra Music Festival 2022.
click to enlarge Carl Cox - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Carl Cox
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Carl Cox

Some may begin their festivities with Carl Cox; others may cap off their night with him. Regardless of the day or time, Cox will leave you a new person. The crowd felt assured Cox couldn't go deeper or darker, yet, by the time Sunday came around, he pulled out all tricks and kept the masses transfixed for two hours. Sometimes he threw in bouncy breaks; other times, it was the stadium techno to which we've grown accustomed: merely a bass and a hi-hat. Sunday appeared to be the day Cox used lengthy buildups before the tidal waves of adrenaline. During one euphoric moment, he dropped the legendary a cappella of Donna Summer's 1977 hit "I Feel Love" while rich shades of blue, red, and purple flooded the dance floor and the LEDs overhead lowered. "Oh, it's so good." Oh yes, it is so good. Grant Albert
click to enlarge David Guetta - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
David Guetta
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

David Guetta

"Miiiiiamiiiii, It's been three fucking years, but Ultra, we are back!" yelled David Guetta as he geared up the Future Rave remix of his hit "Titanium." The French DJ played many of his own songs, including "Memories," featuring Kid Cudi, and "Play Hard," featuring Ne-Yo and Akon, but also remixed classics, including "Yeah" by Usher and Calvin Harris' "How Deep Is Your Love." Guetta felt and spread the love as he threw up a heart shape with his hands to the crowd and his fans reciprocated. Surprise guest Kodak Black hopped onto the stage for Guetta's "Trap House" mix of "Super Gremlin." Mary Gibson
click to enlarge Elohim - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Elohim
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Elohim

Dancing around the stage in all black and trailing a plugged mike behind her, Elohim moved to the rhythm of her sounds and provided her own vocals. "Let's go to the rave!" she shouted. "Now rave!" Her electropop music played as she manned the keys (quite impressively, we might add) and even had her own piano solo. The setlist included "Journey to the Center of Myself" and "FYM," featuring Wiz Khalifa. Mary Gibson
click to enlarge Hardwell - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Hardwell
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Hardwell

As Guetta ended his set, the sky lit up with the words, "See you next year, Ultra 2023." But a promo on the screen for Swedish House Mafia, who'll headline next year's festival, left attendees confused about whether there was more to come. Fortunately, not long after, a somber voiceover intoned, "Your opinion of me does not define who I am. I know what you want me to be. Now, I'm going to show you who I truly am," and the man of the hour hopped onstage and began his set.

It's been years since Hardwell has been onstage. The crowd went absolutely wild during his set, jumping and dancing harder than they did the entire weekend. Hardwell also took this chance to announce his return along with his world tour in support of his latest album, Rebels Never Die. The setlist included songs such as "Apollo," featuring Amba Shepherd and "Spaceman," but primarily consisted of new music celebrating Hardwell's triumphant return. Mary Gibson
click to enlarge Reinier Zonneveld - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Reinier Zonneveld
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Reinier Zonneveld

It's unusual for an artist to play two days in their inaugural year; it is even more uncommon for a techno haven like the Megastructure to bring live elements. Yet, Dutch DJ/producer and founder of the label Filth on Acid Reinier Zonneveld checked both boxes, first performing alongside Armin Van Buuren on Friday and then being one of four live acts this year inside the Megastructure. "Live music makes it special for the people who listen, but it makes you have to push yourself as an artist when you're on stage and come up with new things," Zonneveld told New Times on Friday. "When it works, and you're in the zone, so to say, it's the best feeling in the world." While one would think Zonneveld would go easy on the energy-depleted Sunday crowd, he delivered a furious 130+ BPM infusion of old-school trance and speedy techno. Buzzy synths floated on top of stomping bass for the set's entirety as Zonneveld pushed, turned, and tweaked his hardware with a delicate hand. Grant Albert
click to enlarge Sama' Abdulhadi - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Sama' Abdulhadi
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Sama' Abdulhadi

The Palestinian DJ/producer has become a symbol of the Middle Eastern rave scene and resistance to government suppression of dance culture. Last year, Abdulhadi was arrested by Palestinian authorities after broadcasting a livestream from a place of worship. As Billboard noted, a protest ensued, likely because it was discovered that a woman would be performing at the holy site. With the underground community expressing symphony and appreciation for her hard-hitting, fast-paced techno, Abdulhadi took to Miami for her debut Ultra performance at the Cove. Situated near the water with a striking view of the skyscrapers, Abdulhadi had sunset duties, which she delivered by pounding relentless, bare-bones techno, sometimes equipped with just bass and a bongo percussion. The crowd craved the reduced sound as the Cove shot fire into the cotton-candy sky. Abdulhadi grooved to her beats, took a drag from a cigarette, and quickly returned to mixing. Grant Albert
click to enlarge Claptone and Vintage Culture - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG
Claptone and Vintage Culture
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Vintage Culture and Claptone

In what may have been the Main Stage's first time delivering underground music from the ironclad EDM structure, Germany's Claptone and Brazil's Vintage Culture carried the special duties. Obviously, the two had to dilute the sound with massive buildups and euphoric drops, but they did play music that could comfortably be placed outside the parameters of EDM and more into tech-house territory. The B2B set strayed away from the mike and quickly transitioned from track to track, including an edit of Elton John's "Rocket Man" and the tropical "Calabria" by Forever 80. The steadfast producers also dropped their own remixes, from Claptone's twist on Nora En Pure's "Queen of Ice" to Vintage Culture's "Talamanca" remix. People have been exploring the underground sound more and more, leaving us to wonder whether the Main Stage will someday host bonafide techno. Grant Albert
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert