Many in our world see Miami’s Ultra Music Festival as the ultimate escape, a place that envelops us in a cocoon of sun rays and the pure, unfiltered energy of dance music.

That all changed, however, over the weekend, when an unprecedented deluge of rain battered the festival on its first day. But while the elements transformed Bayfront Park into a quagmire, they were no match for the team behind Ultra and the tens of thousands of ravers for whom they tirelessly worked.

Under the storied festival’s lights, a different storm raged. Rain-slicked hair whiplashed through the air. Mud squelched under glittering boots. Ponchos became capes. And music provided the ultimate shelter.

Fans raving in the rain at the 2024 Ultra Music Festival in Miami.

Kelly Knisel/

Devising a festival that gleamed with nostalgia and novelty alike, organizers in 2024 reinforced Ultra as a radiant touchstone for electronic dance music lovers worldwide. Together with the rain, they cultivated a fertile ground for the genre’s growth by delivering a plethora of musical rarities, like Calvin Harris’ first Ultra set in over a decade.

And their eyes are still on the sky after they announced the dates and released tickets for their 25th anniversary festival, which is scheduled for March 28-30, 2025.

But it’ll be a long 12 months before that historic weekend. In the meantime, read on to discover what you missed at this year’s remarkable Ultra Music Festival.

SLANDER’s head-banging set amidst torrential downpour

In a true “you had to be there” moment, SLANDER transformed a rainy nightmare into festival folklore on Friday night as lasers sliced ​​through torrential downpour. The duo’s punishing dubstep matched the energy of the rain’s relentless onslaught during their performance, the last on the Mainstage before Ultra shut down for the night.

The streets of Miami turned into a pool party

Although it was clear and sunny for Ultra’s remaining two days, Miami on Friday reportedly received 2.34 inches of rain, a daily record for the city. White shoes turned into mud bricks as Ultra’s free-spirited ravers frolicked through the flooding, partying and bellyflopping in the streets.

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Ultra icon Hardwell’s set was cancelled, but the city of Miami came through

“I’m crying right now,” Hardwell said in a post on X after his set was canceled due to the weather. “3 months of work by the team and myself. Wow.”

It was at this point when the festival’s organizers faced their biggest stress test, finding themselves in a pressure cooker as they scrambled to deliver a prevailing ultra icon. They ultimately pulled off the unthinkable after the city of Miami made the unheard-of decision to lift its sound ordinance, leading to an extra hour of Ultra—and a breathtaking Hardwell set.

Calvin Harris’ first Ultra performance in over a decade

In a festival flush with surreal moments, Calvin Harris’ Mainstage finale on Sunday felt like its undeniable highlight. Harris returned for the first time in 11 years and put on a masterclass in crowd-control, turning us into puddles at times with classics like “Feel So Close” and galvanizing techno-fueled purges at others, like during his spectacular coda.

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Martin Garrix played a slew of unreleased songs

One of the biggest crowds of the weekend came on Saturday night, when Martin Garrix delivered a typically electrifying set replete with unreleased music. After another instant-classic Ultra outing, Garrix, who is considered by many as the world’s quintessential DJ, seems to be building a Hardwellian legacy at Bayfront Park.

Armin van Buuren brought Jon Bon Jovi onstage to perform a new song

One of the weekend’s most unexpected moments unfolded when Armin van Buuren brought out rock legend Jon Bon Jovi. Together they debuted an unreleased collaboration, the former’s hair-raising remix of the latter’s timeless 1992 track “Keep The Faith.”

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420 drones lit up the night sky above the Mainstage

The technological terra firma beneath Ultra’s feet remained at the bleeding edge this year. The festival’s organizers developed a magnificent drone show on Sunday night, when 420 choreographed copters danced in the night sky and morphed into a celestial ballet as the beats boomed below.

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RL Grime and Knock2 brought out ISOxo to unveil a huge collaboration

Prior to Ultra’s start, an indisputable focal point of its lineup was the rare b2b set between RL Grime, one of the electronic music scene’s most revered producers, and Knock2, a flag-bearer of its future. They ultimately delivered arguing the weekend’s top performance, at one point bringing out another rising superstar, ISOxo, to debut a monster collaboration.

Peggy Gou made her debut at Ultra’s iconic RESISTANCE Megastructure

Noticeably absent from Ultra’s beloved RESISTANCE Megastructure this year was Carl Cox, whose annual performances on the stage are considered one of Ultra’s biggest draws. Peggy Gou stepped in as a de facto replacement on Saturday night, closing out RESISTANCE with a cathartic performance.

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Chase & Status’ show-stopping drum & bass set on the Worldwide Stage

Chase & Status’ victory lap continued at Ultra’s jaw-dropping Worldwide Stage, where the legendary drum & bass duo, who were named on‘s list of the best music producers of 2023threw down one of the weekend’s best sets.

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ILLENIUM joined Excision for a surprise appearance on the Ultra Mainstage

Excision’s larger-than-life performance on the Mainstage felt like a watershed moment for dubstep music. The energy bubbled over when he invited ILLENIUM onstage to perform their soaring collaboration, “Feel Something.”

A special Tiësto sunset performance in the rain

Billed as a special “sunset slot,” Tiësto’s Friday DJ set offered neon-drenched visuals and nostalgia as the Dutch dance music icon laid down spins of “Adagio For Strings” and Corona’s “The Rhythm of the Night,” among other classics.

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