What Could Ultra’s 20th Anniversary Surprises Be?

Ultra Music Festival is set for what is expected to be its biggest festival ever. While its not the biggest in attendance, it’s still the 20th Anniversary. Ultra already prides itself on curating an “only at Ultra” lineup that is devoted to unique sets and stellar production without the extra gimmicks. It also kicks off the yearly festival season and so DJs hold it in the highest regard of all festivals when it comes to big career moves.

For Ultra’s 15th Anniversary in 2013 it became the first EDM festival to go to 2 weekends. That year it managed to bag the most hyped performance in EDM history, Swedish House Mafia’s final show. Being chosen as the venue for the final show of such a huge group established Ultra as the festival that had the cache and/or the money to get anybody they wanted. That was in addition to deadmau5′ cube show along with a standout lineup all across the board.

Literally the minute Ultra 2013 came to a close everybody expected the festival to top that 2013 moment by bringing Daft Punk to perform. Over the years, the sky high expectations tampered down and fans realized that Ultra’s power does have a limit. However, Ultra has still managed to bring in unique performances almost every year.

For Ultra’s 20th Anniversary people are thinking back to the hype of 2013 and speculating how Ultra could possibly top the madness it build for its 15th Anniversary. We decided to list off all of the major possibilities being bandied about on the interwebz and try to determine the likelihood of each one happening. What did we miss? 

Daft Punk

This set of fake tweets started it all back in 2013. What could possibly be a bigger “get” than the final SHM show? Daft Punk who had released an album in 2013. When 2014 never materialized Ultra’s untouchable reputation had shrunk slightly, but the fans moved on after they realized Daft Punk wasn’t performing anywhere.

Odds? 10% – It’s not 0 but it’s as close to 0 as you could get.

Swedish House Mafia

This rumor has been unstoppable for years, basically since Axwell Ingrosso started releasing music. We could fill a whole article just rounding up these rumors, including a new Swedish House Mafia featuring Alesso as the 3rd member. At this point a lot of fans hope for some sort of quick “reunion” whereby Axwell Ingrosso perform and Steve Angello shows up.

Odds? 20% – Better chance that Daft Punk, but Steve Angello is scheduled to be out of the country during Ultra.

Skrillex, JACK U, Dog Blood

Skrillex, much like Swedish House Mafia, has a storied history with Ultra music festival. His connections are so tight with Ultra that he unveiled his Jack U project with Diplo back in 2014 that went on to become the big surprise of Ultra 2015’s closing set. JACK U also owes its existence to Ultra, and if the duo was ready to unveil their next album Ultra would be the place to do it.

Skrillex dropped his last album out of the blue right before Ultra in 2014, and since then we have not seen many Skrillex solo productions at all. Could Sonny finally debut his next chapter at Ultra 2018?

Odds? 30% – Rumors are that OWSLA reps have already said Skrillex won’t rejoin the festival circuit until July in Japan.

Eric Prydz HOLO or Cirez D

Eric Prydz is another legendary artist with a strong connection to Ultra. He attempted to premiere his HOLO project at Ultra in 2014 on the mainstage, but wind prevented that. Since then he has put on 2 legendary sets in the ASOT Megastructure. Now HOLO is back and it’s coming to at least one festival megastructure (Creamfields). Could we see HOLO Take 2?

Odds: 50% – HOLO could happen, but it seems like something that would have already been announced. It would be difficult to shoehorn that special stage production into Armin’s ASOT set up. Cirez D is a better chance since he is coming to EDC, Tomorrowland, and CRSSD this year.

Trance Tiesto

This is another rumor that won’t die. Tiesto knows this is his ace in the hole, and his fans know it too. With so many DJs returning to their roots in 2017 and 2018, Tiesto would be primed to finally make this happen. That’s not to mention Ultra’s 20th Anniversary reminds everybody that Tiesto started off playing trance at Ultra way back when.

Odds: 30% – Technically better than Daft Punk or SHM reunion, only because he’s actually on the lineup. Tiesto is smart enough to know the expectations for such a set could never be met, and he’s better off teasing us with it forever.

Armin Vinyl Set

Armin van Buuren brought his ASOT live show to Ultra for years, and until very recently it was the only festival where you could find a full day of ASOT curated by Armin himself. We know Armin will be there on Sunday and we know he’s done vinyl sets recently. With Ultra’s 20th, Armin would probably love to play old school for the nostalgia. In fact, he has seemingly confirmed this during his ASOT radio show. We don’t know whether it will be a classic vinyl set, a vinyl portion of a set, or just a vinyl set of recent music, but it will be interesting.

Odds: 80% – Some version of this is almost sure to happen, it’s only a matter of what form it will take.


Marshmello is no longer the new kid on the block. In fact, he’s well beyond the realm of pure EDM festivals. He is now a representative of EDM to the pop world. Having Marshmello on the lineup is a given, but what about a return for Dotcom? Marshmello’s original alias has promised new music in 2017, and what better place to reignite the project than Ultra?

Odds: 60% – There’s no concrete evidence on this one, but it just feels right.

Deadmau5 Cube

Deadmau5 Other Cube Deadmau5′ cube is one of the most iconic stages in dance music. For Ultra’s 20th Anniversary The Cube touched down in Miami for 2 epic sets. Since then The Cube has reached level 2.1 and now there is the “Other Cube” as well. It would only make sense for Cube 2.1 to come back for the next Ultra anniversary, but Deadmau5′ coming to Ultra isn’t much of a surprise since he’s been there many of the past 5 years.

Odds: 50%

Dash Berlin ASOT

Dash Berlin started these rumors when its frontman teased “an epic return” on Twitter. We speculated that the return would be to trance, particularly A State of Trance. Now we know that this is at least partially true and Dash Berlin will perform at EDC’s Dreamstate Stage. Does that mean he will do the same for Ultra? He performed a classics set for Ultra Europe in 2015.

Odds: 70% – This could absolutely happen. It’s only a question of whether Insomniac got an exclusive on it or not.