Electronic dance music extravaganza at Road To Ultra Singapore

Road To Ultra made its debut in Singapore on Sept 19, 2015, with 11,000 people attending the show.
Road To Ultra made its debut in Singapore on Sept 19, 2015, with 11,000 people attending the show. PHOTO: COLOSSAL


Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Sept 19

It has been quite the year for Road To Ultra, the ingenious expansion idea by brands Ultra and Ultra Worldwide, that are behind giant Miami-based electronic music festival Ultra.

Bringing the experience to ravers all around the world through one-night-only events, Road To Ultra, which features top international DJs who play at the three-day American festival, has this year expanded to countries as diverse as Puerto Rico and Philippines.

Also making its debut this year was Road To Ultra Singapore, held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on Sept 19.

Headlined by global electronic dance music (EDM) superstar DJs Alesso, Skrillex and Nicky Romero, the event was supposed to be a prelude to a full blown Ultra Music Festival to be organised in Singapore in coming years.

Despite the big ticket names on the card, the night belonged to underdogs such as relative newcomers Mija and Ansolo - the stage name of The Fault In Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort.

Blue-haired Mija (who has opened for Skrillex numerous times during his tour) played a fantastic early set despite the more lukewarm audience, mixing in commercial favourites such as Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money to get the crowd going.

Ansolo also proved that he had more to him than acting chops, transitioning between tracks seamlessly and throwing in great remixes such as Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith.

Still it's hard not to give due credit to the giants, particularly Alesso and Skrillex, who showed why they are some of the best paid EDM DJs in the world.

Alesso's set was arguably the most packed, with some of the attendees quite literally trying to elbow their way to the front to get a closer vantage point.

Closing act Skrillex was also an energizer bunny - running around the stage, jumping on top of the DJ booth and getting the crowd following his every instruction.

In between the bursts of confetti, the synchronised lighting and the crazy pyrotechnics, the thousands who thronged the floor did everything from wave their hands to scream according to Skrillex's numerous requests.

And, as expected, he closed the event at 4am with his recent Justin Beiber and Diplo smash hit collaboration, Where Are U Now. The audience reciprocated by dancing so hard that the ground literally felt like it was vibrating.

Overall, it was evident that the event was a definite hit for EDM fans in Singapore and the region, considering how many die-hard fans flew down to Singapore to get a chance to see their favourite DJs play.

About 11,000 people attended the event.

It took only a quick scan of the space to people from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, France, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam - a common sight at EDM festivals that often have revellers from around the world coming together.

And though the turnout was impressive, one wonders whether the organisers shot themselves in the foot by having the event on the same weekend as the F1 Grand Prix.

Despite being well organised - everyone wore a Radio Frequency Identification Tag that could be topped up to allow them to buy food, drink and merchandise - the enormous venue never seemed completely full, with many leaving the premises to chill outside while waiting for their favourite DJs to come on.

Many also seemed to come to the event only after attending the races or other F1 parties, diluting the strength of the crowds and putting a slight dampener on what was supposed to be a crazy EDM rave.

It is hard to tell therefore whether Road To Ultra Singapore did enough to warrant it to be the next destination outside of Miami for the full blown three-day Ultra Music Festival.

But, for local fans, it was undoubtedly an excellent night - a taste of the quintessential EDM mantra: eat, sleep, rave, repeat.