These Were The Top 5 Surprises of Ultra Music Festival 2017

         Crust Nation Editor, Rachel Narozniak, was live on location during Ultra Music Festival March 24-26th, 2017

        Miami’s own Ultra Music Festival concluded this weekend in a conglomeration of confetti, vibrant fireworks, and equally explosive new IDs from various artists on the festival’s lineup. As per Ultra’s status as the official kickoff to festival season, the 2017 season has commenced, but not without a fair share of surprises in tow. Here were some of the most memorable and unexpected moments of the three-day event.

1.     DJ Snake & Future: Them boys were definitely up to something. As anyone well versed in UMF closing acts well knows, one doesn’t close out the massive festival—which this year attracted approximately 165,000 attendees—without a few tricks up his sleeve. DJ Snake’s sleeves were accordingly stacked, yielding “F*ck Up Some Commas” producer, Future, Lil Jon, G4SHI, and Kayzo, all of which appeared on stage to contribute to the festival’s finale. Hip hop was not without representation at the 2017 festival: Ty Dolla $ign and A$ap Ferg were added to the event’s lineup as well.

2.     Zedd's Michael Jackson Remix: The “True Colors” visionary impressed the crowd of thousands that gathered to witness his set at the 2016 edition of UMF last year, yet the success of the prior year emerged as no reason for Russian/German DJ, Zedd, to rest on his laurels this year once booked for a consecutive appearance at the festival. Opening with a masterfully produced prelude to “Beautiful Now,” Zedd was proclaimed by many to have debuted the “best set at Ultra,” in the comments section of many Ultra related Facebook posts. Zedd captivated the crowd with a breathtaking remix of the Michael Jackson staple, “Billy Jean,” a song that given its designation as a classic would never be expected from an Ultra set, or to be reworked so well. Zedd delivered an upbeat rendition of Ariana Grande’s “Into You,” and another crown moment of the set, the guest appearance of Alessia Cara on “Stay,” the track that closed out Zedd’s set. Watch the Billy Jean remix below.

3.   Afrojack & David Guetta’s “Something Just Like This” Remix: A UMF mainstay, Afrojack’s billing on the 2017 UMF lineup was hardly a surprise, but the Dutch DJ compensated for the knowable quality of his booking through the reveal of several new tracks, including a collaboration with David Guetta on The Chainsmokers/Coldplay work, “Something Just Like This.” The track was noticeably one of the most commonly remixed songs of the festival, with Alesso and various others offering their re-imaginations of the track to attendees. 

4.    Axwell ^ Ingrosso’s Opening: Those gathered at the festival’s Main Stage shared looks of confusion and bewilderment as Axwell ^ Ingrosso began their closing set of the festival’s second day with a breathy opening that was initially hardly distinguishable as a series of female moans. As the opening mounted, the sound identified itself among attendees who were observedly taken aback by the sexually charged set initiation, the moans exploding in a powerful climax as Axwell ^ Ingrosso took the stage. To the Swedish duo we say well done, very clever, however awkwardly it might have felt to be packed among thousands during those opening seconds. The pair additionally wowed both crowd members and live stream viewers alike through their broadcasting of live stream viewers to the UMF crowd, in a move that intended to introduce the crowd to viewers, and the viewers to the crowd.

5.     Kygo’s Main Stage Appearance: You wouldn’t have found his name on the 2017 lineup, but that didn’t stop Kygo from gracing the Main Stage with his unmistakable brand of tropical house beats twenty-minutes prior to Martin Garrix’s set. Of Kygo’s performance was the new Selena Gomez collab, “It Ain’t Me,” along with two new songs debuted at the festival, tracks destined to be bonafide hits, as in Kygo’s usual aesthetic.