Ultra Korea 2019 – A Stepping Stone to a Better 2020

By Cola Chu

Ultra Korea had always been one of the most anticipated electronic music festivals in Asia because of its hot lineups and energy of the crowd. However, multiple cancellations and poor organisation had made this year’s Ultra Korea a major disappointment. 

On top of Martin Garrix’s unfortunate cancellation due to his ankle injury, Swedish House Mafia, who was scheduled to close the festival on the last day, also cancelled their appearance hours before their set. Fans were completely heartbroken as the legendary trio had been one of major reasons they traveled all the way to Korea to attend the festival. Moreover, the organizer failed to release an official announcement confirming their cancellation. It was only found out by some attendees in the Korean version of the official SHM website. No replacement could be found in such a short notice on the last day for SHM and the fans left with frustration. The organizer agreed to give out refund for the last day.

The festival also moved to a new venue this year and it was in a remote town (around 1 hour from city center) with little public transport. Shuttle tickets were available but only Koreans with local phone numbers could buy directly and foreigners needed to fill in forms to book and pick up tickets before a certain time in a ticket booth. The sale also closed before the start of the festivals so attendees who didn’t realize the event was far couldn’t arrange any shuttle after that. Leaving the venue everyday was disastrous, some party-goers claimed they waited for 4 hours for bus or train and some foreigners got ripped off by taxis who charged them 2-3x of the normal price to go back to the city. 

Despite the cancellations and poor transportation arrangement, the crowd still carried good energy. On day 1, Porter Robinson replaced Martin Garrix and gave a special DJ set after his show as Virtual Self. The crowd absolutely loved it and the first day of the festival ended with a blast! There were several non-electronic artists performing this year as well and the response was mixed. 

Ultra holds some of the biggest and most famous electronic music festivals around the world. To many party-goers, it almost always guarantees a good time for all its fans. We sincerely hope that Ultra Korea will address the issues it faced this year and offer a better experience for its fans in 2020.