As we embark on the second day of Ultra Music Festival, those of us stuck at home will be tuning into the festivities once again via the event’s official live stream on ultramusicfestival.com. Day 1 gave us towering performances from the likes of Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, and even a special 20-minute appearance by Kygo. Today, attendees and viewers alike can look forward to headlining sets from Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Afrojack, Chase & Status, Above & Beyond, Tiesto and more.
But despite the convenience and inclusiveness of the festival’s live stream plan, the Day 2 schedule also brings with it subtle feelings of disappointment. Looking at the list of featured acts, we see that there are a whopping 11 artists that will receive 15 minutes or less of airtime before the cameras switch to a new stage. Some of the DJs, like Carl Cox (of all people), The Martinez Brothers and Cedric Gervais are only slated for five minutes on air.
Sam Feldt, Martin Solvieg, Steve Aoki, Tiesto and a few headliners occupy the thickest time slots, but with the amount of brief acts in between, it almost seems to be a waste of effort to try and fill the gaps with so many short clips. Not only do the artists themselves receive the short end of the stick, but the viewing experience is hampered by disallowing fans to fully engage with the set for longer than a few minutes.
What Ultra should do is follow in the footsteps of music festivals like Coachella and dedicate multiple, simultaneous channels that allow users to switch back and forth between stages at their leisure. By placing a few cameras at three or four stages, and keeping them running throughout the day, the overall experience of viewing Ultra from home would be far more custom and enjoyable. Even though a sacrifice might be required in the form of slightly scaled down production value and less camera angles to explore, the trade-off seems highly worth it for the sake of fans who want to watch more than five minutes of their favorite DJ’s set.
That being said, we would be remiss to blanket Ultra’s live stream with criticism. The smoothness between sets, unimposing host commentary and incredible live footage and audio are true pleasures to behold. If we could only have more of a say on which sets we were viewing at any given time, the experience would far surpass most other music festival live streams in the circuit.