Despite (and maybe also because of) a Friday night rainstorm, dance music’s first festival of the 2024 season felt like one for the record books.

It’s officially festival season 2024, and Ultra Music Festival in Miami just fired the starting gun.

The 24th edition of the downtown festival popped back up in Bayfront Park this past Friday to Sunday, March 22 – 24. The three-night extravaganza fed some 55,000 ravers a day a steady diet of bass, synths, builds, drops, sing-alongs and put-your-hands-up moments of elation. 

Of course, it also brought a historic amount of rain, lightning and the first emergency evacuation in the festival’s history. Organizers were forced to close gates a few hours early on Friday night just after 9 p.m. and to open late the following Saturday at 4:00 p.m., instead of the usually scheduled noon. This also forced the fest to do some creative rescheduling — and while not everyone got the chance to come back for another day, Ultra and its very international audience were more than happy to make the most of it.

Unfortunate weather aside, this year’s Ultra Miami was as magical as it’s ever been. In a most surprising move, the City of Miami — which kicked the festival out in 2019 because of complaints from residents about the noise and heavy traffic, only to invite it back the following year — gifted the music festival an extra hour of play time Saturday night, helping with the effort to reschedule some of the canceled headline sets.

From rare back-to-backs and over-the-top firework displays, drone shows, nostalgic reunions, special guests and glimmers of hope, here’s what we’ll remember for years to come.

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