Ultra Australia 2019: Melbourne Review

Ultra Australia: Photo Credit: Rukes

After last year’s taster on The Road To Ultra Australia, we knew this weekend’s full scale Ultra Australia Festival was going to be epic but with three stages, Melbourne’s weather turned on and a massive sprawling location at Flemington Racecourse, the day and event was exceptional.

Split across the UMF Radio, Resistance and Ultra Main Stage, the music festival punters were spoiled for choice (and so were we) on who to feast upon. If you were in the VIP or the VVIP areas, you also had a birdseye view of the humongous main stage for with fire, lasers and all manner of treats to soak up.

Organisers offered plenty of shaded areas and free water stations across the grounds of both venues. With Summer still in full swing, event staff gave away complimentary caps, sunscreen and water to patrons upon entry throughout the weekend, to help keep them cool and comfortable.  Event organisers worked closely with the local authorities to ensure a strong police and medical presence, demonstrating their commitment to patron safety and security.

For a 26 degrees and sunny Melbourne day, Marshmello was committed to the cause with the trademark helmet on show but swapping the white sweater for a yellow one this time around (fooling the copycats in the crowd). He had the masses going from the opening to closing his set.

If we could, we’d go through all of the artists that performed in the 10 + hours of enjoyment but it’s fair to say that the highlights of Ultra Australia for us were Marshmello, Martin Garrix and of course the headliners The Chainsmokers who were on fire (they’re drummer quite literally was). We also wish we could’ve cloned ourselves to be across all 3 stages at the same time, but a cherry picking of the stage talent had to be done.

Marshmello : Photo Credit – Rudgr
Marshmello – Happier (ft. Batstille)

Martin Garrix had the sunset set and he kept the euphoria rising. I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing him live before (and never expected to be this close) and his setlist had everyone going on 110% energy levels, keeping them ready for the headliners and what was in store for everyone.

Martin Garrix
Martin Garrix feat. Bonn – No Sleep

Lastly, but not least, we had The Chainsmokers who are a duo that still keep rising and working tirelessly both in the studio and on the live circuit to keep their sound and stage show evolving. Seriously, the guys never rest.

From the set opener, where they hid behind the decks with flares ready to announce their arrival, through to the set closer with an Australian flag being flown, their 90 minutes of setlist kept the adrenaline getting higher and higher.

If you had plans to sneak off and beat the rush to get the train home, The Chainsmokers had you having second thoughts.

The Chainsmokers

As Drew said on stage, their track offerings are indeed quite bipolar. One minute it’s euphoria and the next it’s darker but all in a good way.

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers are a well selected headline act for the Main Ultra Stage who gave the masses exactly what they wanted and more in Melbourne. If the crowd weren’t lucky enough to catch the mighty duo when they came out to Australia back in 2017, they sure made up for it this time. In fact, it is crazy the number of tracks and releases they’ve had since that tour, which was only a short time ago in the world of albums and singles.

It was an honour to see these artists doing what they do best and being up close and personal with a number of them.

The Chainsmokers: Photo Credit – Rudgr
The Chainsmokers & 5 Seconds of Summer – Who Do You Love

The future looks very golden for Ultra Australia in Melbourne for 2020 and beyond.

I’d like to say that’s the case too for Sydney but from next year, Ultra will be deemed a high risk festival under the new festival rules created by the NSW Government (people who quite clearly have never stepped foot onto the soil of a music event). A nonsensical decision that harks back to the dark ages of the SLAM rally days of Melbourne a number of years back, that needs to be addressed.

The level of organisation and effort that has gone into every element of this festival in Australia is extraordinary and the work involved in getting the artists in and out backstage was like air traffic control and the work done behind the scenes for the music fans was top level too. Maybe the NSW Government should take a long hard look at that too, as well as themselves, in the destruction of the Sydney and NSW nightlife scene that is happening from the lockout laws and the impending high risk festival listing.

I could be selfish and say that it’s alright for us down in Victoria but we all need to band together to stamp out what the NSW Goverment is imposing as that mentality can only have a longer lasting and impacting effect on Australian wide festivals as a whole.

We can’t wait for what is in store for Ultra Australia next year but we need to make sure that we’re all in it together to make it a festival on Australian shores for years to come.

About Graham Porter

Founder of YMR and has been trying to make a difference for unsigned, up and coming artists and all things great in music since 2011.

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