After years of watching the legendary Ultra Music Festival grace stage upon stage on American soil, we were stoked to see that they were finally making their way to Asia. To our disappointment, in 2015, they only made debuts in Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Macau...basically everywhere BUT Hong Kong. However, this year, the EDM Gods smiled upon the small (but thriving) community of Hong Kong EDM lovers, with the announcement that Ultra Worldwide was finally expanding into our city!
Road to Ultra Hong Kong's lineup wasn't released until July, but we knew all along that this was an event the E.S Crew could not miss out on. Reaching out to the local RTU representatives, we secured a booth early on, prepping cool new swag items to give away the day of, all the way back in May. Needless to say, we were hyped for this event for a while.
For everyone else who didn't have the privilege of hosting a booth of their own (jokes), the ticket prices proved to be a steep purchase for a single days worth of fun; early birds were priced at $950 HKD ($125USD) and normal/door tickets priced at $1400HKD ($180USD). Though the tickets are considerably more expensive than the US counterparts (It's usually around $100USD per day), Ultra made it up to the fans by bringing in numerous international DJs like Martin Garrix, Nervo, Jauz, Galantis and Marshmello to play.
Held at Nursery Park in West Kowloon, festival attendees enjoyed a spacious environment to jam out while simultaneously being able to enjoy the great views of the sunset that the location afforded. Speaking of the sun...Prior to the sun setting, the brutal heat of Hong Kong really took a toll on everyone, a definite reminder that Asia heat is no laughing matter (Though we still smiled throughout it all!). Thankfully, our newly made E.S Towels saved the day! Did you manage to get one before we ran out? Remember to tag us on Insta/FB so we can see :) Aside from our towels, our signature sunnies also helped festival goers keep the sun out of their eyes so they could enjoy the show.
Sadly, our booth was off to the side in an area separated from the main stage, so we didn't get to see much of the show. However, with the help of our good friends, we were able to meet a bunch of new E.S crew members who came up to say hi and take pictures! We even PLUR-ed with some true kandi kidz. And no amount of shows can replace that ;) Even if we had to yell our lungs out to get people to walk by the VVIP sign that was placed in front of our booth area, we enjoyed every single moment. Having said that, we did get a chance to enjoy Nervo's set (Amazing!) and try some of the food on offer at the event. To our surprise, RTU had a wide selection of health conscious foods, ranging from good-for-your-gut Taboocha to truffle cream cheese bagels and gourmet sandwiches.
As much as we enjoyed our time at the event, there were a few things that RTU can definitely think of improving for next year's event (This is me subtly praying for their return); With 7000 attendees, it was over-ambitious to ask everyone to line up to put money into a card before lining up again to buy drinks. It was obvious that they tried to imitate the system often used in festivals such as Tomorrowland, but if they had made it possible for people to load up the card prior to the event, it would've made the entire process much faster (Instead of lining up for 30 mins for the card and then another 1.5hrs to get drinks). This was a problem we encountered at Singapore's Ultra festival as well, but as their event was 3 days long, they promptly eradicated this feature on the second day. Aside from this, everything else we have to criticize are just things that will come about as the brand continues to grow in South East Asia; better sound systems, enhanced lighting effects and additional stages.
Nonetheless, we hope that, as the EDM community continues to expand, RTU will recognize the potential market Hong Kong is and bring better, larger and more over-the-top festivals to us. This was definitely a good first step in the right direction of building the EDM scene in Hong Kong and we can't wait for what's in store next. Who knows who will come to play in 2017? ;)