Ultra Cape Town was last Friday night and it certainly was a big event. I honestly have mixed feelings about it as there were good parts and “bad” parts. At least it was an incredible evening in Cape Town with a full moon shining above. Sublime! I can only imagine what the official video is going to look like! Here’s what went down:
It took an hour to get into the venue (from N7 to parking) which apparently wasn’t bad! Friends took two and a half hours to get from town into the venue! The organisers had included the traffic department who were stopping traffic on the N7 to allow festival goers to enter the grounds, which was fantastic. Heavens knows how it would have been otherwise! Unfortunately, there were selfish people pushing in at the top of the queue which already put me off. Clearly the festival was going to be high in douche bags. I assume Electric SA had it at the Ostrich Farm as they knew the volumes of vehicles would be enormous as well as the space needed for the show so the venue made sense to me. But sitting in traffic did start the night off on a bad note – being patient when there’s a party ahead isn’t easy!
WHY on earth they bothered having more than one stage is beyond me! What I suspect happened is that the internationals took their sweet time to confirm their sets so a number of SA DJs were invited to play. When the internationals came through they ended up being over booked and, therefore, created the Dansville stage. I couldn’t even be bothered to look for the Goldfish stage cause I had no idea where it was so I just partied at the main stage. They really shouldn’t have bothered with the other stages as there were only about 100 people at most when I went to the Dansville stage. Oh, and the DJ box covered the screens so that was arb. Bad set up there. Plus the main stage was MORE than entertaining and we should have all focused on that I think.
The sound and production of Ultra was fantastic. Of course it’s a world class event and the level of production, switch over between DJs included, was great. The stage had a giant back screen with numerous vertical screen panels on either side. They shot out big gold streamers, had robot dancers, live singers, lights, fire curtain raining down, lazers, the whole bang shoot! The production was top notch and everyone at the back was even included due to the far reaching lazers. I didn’t see any secondary screens if my memory serves me correctly – I would have liked to have seen a few more close ups.
I have to say I was quite disappointed with the music. That surprises EVERYONE but I honestly didn’t expect it to be as commercial as it was. For someone who listens to electronic music on a daily basis and enjoyed the Hardwell show, I really didn’t expect the music to be, literally, like a 5fm playlist. Everyone keeps going on about EDM – well ya, I listen to EDM every weekend. But it’s almost become a term that should not be “Electronic Dance Music” but “Every Day Music”. I actually love pop music, I just have not ever been to a dance party where they play mostly radio hits. I honestly found that really weird and I feel sad because there are 25 000 (yes they said 40k but I don’t believe it) kids thinking they like dance music when really they just like pop music. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, I just think the two should be clear. It certainly explains why the clubs in Long Street that play electronic music aren’t filled every weekend yet Ultra had “40 000” fans.
There were certainly more than enough bars with enough staff. I understand Heineken beer, as a sponsor, being at the fore but why are the alcopop options so limited? Hunters pls! And the bars weren’t cheap. Having said that, it goes to show that Capetonians aren’t as cheap as we always peg them to be. Money is there and it can be spent. There were enough toilets in a reasonable condition as well. I didn’t like that some food stalls only used coupons – who has time to stand in a coupon queue then a food queue when there are 25 000 other hungry people there?! I had a cash killer hot dog for R20 – classic festival food! It didn’t taste bad either! OVERALL
I couldn’t find a map of the festival actually at the entrance to Ultra but all the staff on the drive in were helpful. Except the one guy freaking out about everyone being stuck in traffic. He was stroppy when I asked him a question which was annoying. Had he been sitting in the traffic for 90 mins or I? The Ultra PR company did ring to find out when I was would arrive but didn’t mention it’d take a while to get in. When I got to the entrance of Ultra there was no one there to give me my ticket. Computicket knew nothing about collections. So I couldn’t go home, traffic was mad, so I hung around. Luckily a DJ friend had a comp and I got in with him. Not the best case scenario as I now have no idea what media info I missed and couldn’t get into any of the media areas to find out. I still had a good time but who knows what I missed hehe
Overall, I’d like to attend another Ultra but I’m not sure I would considering it was quite a mission. I don’t like to miss out but the heavy traffic does put me off and considering I’ve been to dozens of festivals and shows, I’m kinda past the big mission factor. If it was my first time party then of course I’d sit in traffic for 2, 3 hours, would be excited and love every second. This time, I had fun because I was with friends, not because it was the best party I’d ever been to, but as we all know with music, it’s a personal preference not fact. The sound and production of Ultra was awesome, I have nothing but respect there. That part of the show was brilliant but “ag” do I really need to party with 25 000 bro-bots, not REALLY. Do I believe it’s good for the SA music scene on a global brand way? Definitely. Does it help the local music scene? I don’t really believe so. Is it worth going to at least once? Absolutely.
Ok. The final word. For those of you are thrilled you didn’t go and wouldn’t be caught there: I like to support South African projects even if they’re not to my expectations (for whatever reason). For those who loved it and think the statement “I’m not sure I’d go again” means “I will definitely never go there nor support Electric SA again” let me clarify. I’m not sure if I would go to Ultra again IF it was every week/month/Friday. Yes, I would go again to see if it had been developed further and to, as I always do, support SA projects. But not anytime soon! I need at least a year to gear myself up again. And with Ramfest is still on the way, there are a lot of parties and such little time! Maybe the other 24 500 Ultra fans will support other festivals this year too. We can only hope.
Here’s a little video footage of what I caught on the night: