Ultra Music Festival Partners With SiriusXM for Post-Cancellation Radio Channel

Carl Cox lays sonic siege to festivalgoers' ears while DJing at Ultra Music Festival 2019.
Carl Cox lays sonic siege to festivalgoers' ears while DJing at Ultra Music Festival 2019. Photo by Daniella Mía
A whole lot of people have found themselves with a whole lot of time on their hands following the rash of event cancellations implemented in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Fortunately, some enterprising groups are trying to make the best out of a bad situation by finding new, nonphysical means of organizing events and engaging with audiences.

That includes Ultra Music Festival, which has partnered with satellite radio company SiriusXM to salvage something out of the wreckage of this year's canceled gathering.

SiriusXM announced this morning that it will begin broadcasting Ultra Virtual Audio Festival on UMF Radio this Friday, March 20. According to a press release, the radio channel will present exclusive live DJ sets from artists who were originally scheduled to perform at Ultra's 2020 edition, including Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, and Oliver Heldens.

UMF Radio will also broadcast festival performances that previously aired on SiriusXM in years past. Carl Cox, the Chainsmokers, and Kygo are said to be among the artists whose archived performances are set to be shared.

The channel will launch Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m. ET and will air through Monday, March 23, on Channel 52 on satellite radios and on SiriusXM's applications.

This isn't the first time the international dance music festival and the premium radio company have collaborated. In the past, SiriusXM has broadcasted sets directly from Ultra's stages to listeners.

However, it does mark the first instance the two parties have teamed up in the absence of a real music festival.

“With the postponement of beloved events, necessary changes in people’s everyday life, and need for social distancing, we know our listeners are seeking a sense of community more than ever,” Scott Greenstein — president and chief content officer of SiriusXM — said in the press release announcing Ultra Virtual Audio Festival. “To encourage that, we are pleased to be working with Ultra Music Festival to provide our listeners with this virtual audio festival featuring the diverse lineup of artists the UMF delivers year after year, as well as exclusive, fresh, new sets from some of the biggest names in dance music.”

The press release says Ultra ticketholders — who might still be sore over the lack of refunds — can anticipate an email offering access to UMF Radio and SiriusXM's other programming in the very near future.
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Zach Schlein is the former arts and music editor for Miami New Times. Originally from Montville, New Jersey, he holds a BA in political science from the University of Florida and writes primarily about music, culture, and clubbing, with a healthy dose of politics whenever possible. He has been published in The Hill, Mixmag, Time Out Miami, and City Gazettes.
Contact: Zach Schlein