Surprise guests are nothing new at Ultra Music Festival, but with the festival's milestone 20th anniversary, rumors of cherry-on-top superstar DJ appearances have been swirling. Last night Steve Aoki brought Daddy Yankee and Elvis Crespo out onto the main stage, but those appearances had been announced in advance of the set.
By far, the most rampant rumor is a Swedish House Mafia reunion, and with Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso in town to play the festival, speculation has heightened even more. We asked Ultra attendees their guesses at to who this year's Sunday night surprise guest might be.
18-year-old Vanessa Cevallos traveled from Nashville, Tennessee for her first Ultra Music Festival this year. She's most excited about seeing David Guetta, but she's hoping for more surprise appearances from Latin artists this year after Daddy Yankee's cameo during Steve Aoki's set, which Cevallos says was a festival highlight for her so far. Her guesses for surprise 20th anniversary headliners? "I'm hoping for Skrillex or Martin Garrix," she says.
38-year-old Jeremy Johnson returned to Ultra 2018 after attending the festival back in 2002. "I've been in the party scene for a long time and I guess I keep getting older and everyone keeps getting younger. I think I'm excited for artists that most people aren't," he says, citing Frankie Bones' afternoon Saturday set as one he's looking forward to. Asked to take a stab at guessing the surprise guest, he's hoping for some personal favorites. "Old-headed me would probably say Fatboy Slim or Daft Punk."
Bianca Ceballos says even getting ready for Ultra was fun, but her face lights up when asked who she thinks the surprise guest might be. "Obviously I'm like everybody else and I really, really, really am hoping for Swedish House Mafia to get together, and if that happens, my life is complete." Deja Crable is hoping for a reunion as well, but says she's most excited for Ceballos, who has been a massive fan of the supergroup for years.
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Ultra 20 is Jayson Caoile's second Ultra in a row. He attended the festival for the first time last year. "It was a turning point in my life, I swear," he says. "Feeling so free with so many people you don't know is incredible - you don't get that everywhere." Without hesitation, Caoile says last year's Tiesto set in the rain was his favorite Ultra memory. "I met this 60-year old cancer survivor. She was with her wife. We danced in the rain like there was no tomorrow. Those are the moments I live for. I'll cherish that forever." He's most excited to see RL Grime this year, but like many Ultra attendees, he's hoping for a surprise Swedish House Mafia reunion.
Manda Chinsue has been wanting to attend Ultra Music Festival since she first moved to Miami in 2009. She's content without taking a guess at this year's surprise guest, because her favorites Matoma, Armin Vaan Burin, and Above and Beyond are all already on the Ultra 20 lineup. Chinsue says an early favorite memory has been meeting new friends from Australia as soon as she came onto the festival grounds. "I look forward to extending that relationship past Ultra," she says.