First day of dance music festival Ultra Singapore features ultra queuing

The view of the main stage at Ultra Singapore where the likes of Alesso, DJ Snake and Deadmau5 performed on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave.
The view of the main stage at Ultra Singapore where the likes of Alesso, DJ Snake and Deadmau5 performed on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave. ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN
The crushing queues outside the festival grounds of Ultra Singapore on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave.
The crushing queues outside the festival grounds of Ultra Singapore on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave. ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN
The crushing queues outside the festival grounds of Ultra Singapore on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave.
The crushing queues outside the festival grounds of Ultra Singapore on Sept 10, 2016 at Bayfront Ave. ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN

From the crushing queues at the entrance to the hour-long queues at the food and drink stalls within the grounds, Ultra Singapore on Saturday, the first of the two-day dance music festival, turned out to be a case of Ultra Queuing.

Make that, Ultra Queuing on Ultra Muddy Grounds.

The untested venue - an open field next to Marina Bay Sands Tower 1, where a full-fledged festival was held for the first time - was extremely muddy following a downpour earlier on the morning of Sept 10.

While the festival, a franchise of the popular brand which started in Miami, kicked off at noon, the majority of partygoers arrived at around 3pm. Even then, the snaking lines outside Bayfront Ave, next to Marina Bay Sands Tower 1, did not seem to let up, plagued by queue cutting and a lack of staff to direct individuals.

Attendance figures were not available at press time, but the organisers say they were expecting 20,000 party goers each day of the event. All online tickets were sold out by Thursday (Sept 8), and there were only limited tickets available at the door.

Relentless queues aside, the music was the saving grace. Inevitably, the main stage with its headline acts such as Deadmau5 and DJ Snake drew the largest crowds. Parisian DJ Snake, in particular, put on a 75-minute high energy set at 8pm with a barrage of banger after banger including Lean On and Get Low.

In contrast to Alesso's early afternoon set, which was a far more chilled-out affair with EDM-lite, DJ Snake's hardstyle and trap-filled set had everything from pyrotechnics to confetti showers. Snake, whose real name is William Grigahcine, proudly declared "this is the number one song in the world" before dropping his collaboration with Justin Bieber, Let Me Love You. The crowd lapped it up, singing along to every word, as he continued to drop even more new material off his debut album Encore, released just last month.

Another highlight of Ultra music festivals around the world are the colossal main stages, complete with LED screens, fire cannons, lasers and the signature large lit-up "U" sign in the middle of the stage. Here, there were no lasers and the "U" sign, a focal point of all Ultra stages, disappointingly did not seem to be working.

The smaller stages fared better. At the Resistance Stage, which featured a superb sound system and great lights set-up, techno doyenne Nicole Moudaber held court in the closing set. The likes of Korean rap and R&B artist Jay Park added diversity to the line-up at the Live stage, busting moves with his dancers and playing to the adoring crowd by unbuttoning his shirt to reveal his six-pack.

In a statement released today (Sept 11), the organisers attributed "extreme weather conditions" during the early hours of Day one to the "number of logistical complications throughout the day".

The statement added: "In direct response to fan feedback and for the overall convenience of fans’ Day two experience, the organisers have made certain logistical changes in order to deliver the best possible second day of Ultra Singapore."

Day two, on Sunday (Sept 11), will see the likes of Norwegian superstar DJ-producer Kygo, Swedish DJ Axwell and American-Chinese producer Zhu take the stage.

anjalir@sph.com.sg