It’s the biggest event on the South African dance calendar and Ultra South Africa, the global electronic music event renowned for its electrifying atmosphere and stellar line-ups, is gearing up for its ninth edition in South Africa.
Set to take place on Friday, March 1, at HollywoodBets Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town and on Saturday, March 2, at the Expo Centre at Nasrec in Johannesburg, the festival promises an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts.
This year, Skrillex, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, Vintage Culture and W&W have been announced as global headliners while Major League DJz and Shimza have been confirmed as the local headliners alongside Kyle Watson, DBN Gogo and more.
Ahead of the 2024 edition of the festival, here are five things you may not have known about the music festival.
Ultra South Africa Has Brought Electronic Music’s Biggest Names To Mzansi
2024 sees the ninth edition of the Ultra Music Festival taking place on South African soil and has become one of the largest festivals on the local music circuit. As the festival continues to cement itself as a leader in the electronic dance music space, Ultra South Africa remains committed to bringing the greatest international acts to South African audiences. Over the years, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Skrillex, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Axwell^Ingrosso, Zedd, Galantis, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, Oliver Heldens, Timmy Trumpet, Gorgon City, DVVBS, Robin Schulz, Dash Berlin, DJ Snake, Carnage, Felix Jaehn, KSHMR, Headhunterz, Nic Fanciulli, Fisher, Krewella, W&W, Nicky Romero, Blasterjaxx, Above & Beyond, Infected Mushroom, Vini Cici, Camelphat, Seth Troxler, Fedde Le Grand, The Martinez Brothers, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano have performed at the iconic music festival.
A celebration of local music
Ultra Music Festival doesn’t just stop at delivering international heavyweights; it consistently enriches its festivals with incredible local line-ups. This commitment to showcasing local talent amplifies the festival experience, infusing each event with the unique flavours of the host country’s vibrant music scene. From Cape Town and Johannesburg to Miami, Tokyo to Ibiza, Ultra Music Festival has become a platform for both internationally acclaimed artists and each respective country’s local stars, creating a blend of sounds that transcends borders. By championing local talent alongside global icons, Ultra Music Festival fosters a sense of unity, cultural exchange, and a shared love for the transformative power of electronic music, making each festival an immersive and unforgettable experience.
Ultra Music Festival has a history spanning over two decades
Although 2024 sees the ninth edition of the Ultra Music Festival in South Africa, the festival started in Miami back in 1999 by Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes. The first festival was a one-day event that took place on the beach in Miami, Florida. The festival featured only a few artists on the line-up, but it became an instant success. In 2011, the festival in Miami expanded into a three-day event and in 2013, the festival grew to two three-day weekends – the first time a major electronic dance music festival did so anywhere in the world.
A global expansion
As the Ultra Music Festival continued to grow in Miami, interest started to grow in taking the brand globally. In 2008, Ultra Brazil was announced and Ultra has since debuted worldwide festivals in Argentina, Chile, South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Spain, Australia, Mexico and, of course, South Africa.
Depeche Mode helped inspire the Ultra Music Festival
Russell Faibisch revealed that a live performance of the iconic electronic group Depeche Mode inspired him to kick-start plans for the festival. He told the Miami New Times “It was Depeche Mode in  for the ‘Devotion Tour’ at the Miami Arena that everything clicked for me and I realized that this was what I want my life to be. Somehow, someway, but I hadn’t figured exactly how yet.” Russell was so inspired by the performance that he named the festival after Depeche Mode’s 1997 album ‘Ultra’.
After breaking attendance records in 2023, Ultra South Africa is set to be bigger and better in 2024 – and this first phase of artists is testament to the brand’s determination to bring the very best electronic dance music to South African audiences. The festival has long been a magnet for electronic dance music aficionados, drawing fans from all corners of the globe to revel in a world-class production, extraordinary visuals, and an ambience that’s nothing short of magical.
Ultra South Africa 2024 will take place on Friday 1 March in Cape Town at HollywoodBets Kenilworth Racecourse, and on Saturday 2 March in Johannesburg at the Expo Centre at Nasrec.
Tickets are on-sale now at https://ultrasouthafrica.com/Tickets. Tier 3 tickets are available for the Johannesburg event, starting at R1,095 for GA tickets, and R2,500 for VIP tickets. Limited tier 3 tickets are still available for Cape Town, starting at R995 for GA tickets and R2000 for VIP tickets. Ticket prices are all-inclusive with no hidden fees.