[Review] Ultra South Africa 2016


The warm sunny shores of South Africa were set to host Ultra Music Festival once more. This year marked the third event Ultra has hosted in South Africa and this year, we also saw the event span over two days featuring twice as many international artists.

Fedde Le Grand

The Johannesburg leg of Ultra SA commenced on Friday 26th February at 2pm. The main stage played host to some of local South African talent which the crowd danced to while waiting for Fedde Le Grand. His set was full of energy and got the crowd energized for the rest of the night to come. With the sunset over the mountains as a backdrop, his set served as a beginning to an amazing weekend to come.

galantis 2

Soon after Fedde, Galantis took over the main stage and their set was everything I had expected and more. Not only were they energetic, they played some of the crowd favourites including “You & I”, which everyone happily enjoyed as we felt the rain cool our skins. Towards the end of their set, the rain started to come down pretty heavy and yet it did not seem to bother anyone, people danced in the rain and embraced not only the cool weather which we needed but the energy that seemed to grow throughout the night.

dash berlin 1

The majority of the South African trance family including me were waiting for Dash Berlin and may I just say we were not disappointed! Not only did he drop some classics, he also played “Waiting” and Axwell Λ Ingrosso’s “Sun is Shining”, which everyone around me loved. “Steal You Away” and “Jar of Hearts” were my personal favourites and hearing it live gave me chills!

zedd 2

Soon after, Zedd take over and from the moment he stepped on stage, the crowd exploded. The visuals were mind blowing! He opened with “Spectrum”. One of my favourite parts of his set was when he played his remix of Magic – Rude and he had the entire crowd singing along. There’s just something about an entire crowd singing in harmony that gives me goose bumps! The second most memorable moment was when he dropped Geck-O – Hit Me With Those Laser Beams, the lights went dim and suddenly we were surrounded by green lasers which lit up the sky.

skrillex 2

The last set of the evening and the most anticipated one by all dubstep lovers was Skrillex. This was my first experience with live dubstep and while I’ve heard a lot of his sets, this experience was totally out of this world! He included trap, dubstep and some classics; I mean what’s a Skrillex set without Cinema right? There’s just something about hearing all your favourite tracks that get you hooked onto an artist. The firework, lights, tracks and just the entire atmosphere was out of this world. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. Even when he dropped Fetty Wap, I loved it and that’s not something I’d normally listen to.

I must say day one was absolutely memorable and for it being my first ultra-experience I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, including back out these gates knowing tomorrow we would do it all over again!

robin schulz

Day two was even busier than the first, I guess everyone was off from work and had time to lose their minds! Robin Schulz played a very chill set, getting the crowd pumped for the night ahead.


Many people were eagerly waiting the Dutch brothers, W&W. They opened with Swedish House Mafia – Know Your Name, it’s safe to say everyone enjoyed that! Their set included more mainstream tracks as well as some trance tracks. They played Armin – This Is What It Feels Like, another moment that gave me goose bumps as the entire crowd sang in unity.

carnage 1 - rudgr photography - Copy - Copy

After that Carnage came on, now in South Africa he does not have a huge following although I think after the set he played, he’s going to have plenty more members to add to the Chipotle Gang! His trap sets were embraced by everyone and he was the first to do a sit down. I’ve always wondered what it felt like to be part of a sit down before and I must say, even though it was to hardstyle it did not disappoint! The energy it gives everyone and the unity we all show is something I will never forget, even dropping my phone when he told everyone to jump didn’t deter me from enjoying every second of his set. He catered for everyone and his set was one for the books! I would definitely pay to see him live again.


At the end, we had the superstar Tiesto! His set included a lot of his recent tracks which gave us all the energy we needed to keep going! He even played the Mike Williams remix of his collab with Oliver Heldens ‘ The Right Song’ and that was incredible! His set down which he did towards the end of the night was just something we all needed.

I must say my first ultra-experience was truly amazing and no amount of words could ever describe how it felt. I met some amazing new friends, danced with people who didn’t care if I looked retarded and made memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s hoping that I get to do it all over again next year!

All Images courtesy – Al Nicoll Photography, RUDGR, Sullivan Photography


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