Winners and Losers of Miami Music Week 2024

It’s now two weeks since Ultra Day 1, and we have finally regained enough brain cells to process what happened during MMW24. We took some time to think over all the events of the week beyond just Ultra to distill some of the biggest winners and losers from Miami Music Week 2024. Read on for the full lowdown.

Winner: Mother Nature

Music Week 2024 was an unexpected reminder that Mother Nature is undefeated in the universe. The best-made plans can go to s**t when storms come through, especially when it comes to music festivals. During EDM’s Golden Era festivals being rained out was somewhat common. EDC Orlando’s debut edition had to stop for quite a while during a thunderstorm. Ultra 2014 is memorable for Above & Beyond’s equipment getting destroyed by the downpour and they were forced to DJ on backup equipment facing away from the crowd. Of course, we all know the story of TomorrowWorld, where rain and mud literally destroyed a festival and bankrupted a publicly traded company. It was common for Ultra to shut down a stage or two for a bit due to pouring rain. That’s how many people discovered Resistance for the first time – escaping the rain.

Then somewhere around 2018 we had several glorious years of perfect weather during Music Week. It did not rain at all from 2018 through 2023. Then Tomorrowland Brazil 2023 got flooded out on Day 1 and had to cancel Day 2 to clean up the muddy mess. Now Ultra and Music Week 2024 had the same experience. Are we about to see a few more years with rain in the Music Week forecast? We hope not, but you never know. The good news is that everybody powered through and salvaged the weekend anyway.

Loser: Everybody’s Shoes on Friday

As the rain poured down on Friday, people were prepared (for the most part). They had ponchos so the rain wasn’t cramping their style. The thing is, nobody was prepared for so much rain. Not many people came to Ultra in boots. As the rain got worse on Friday, people were desperately trying to hopscotch their way around Ultra or Factory Town to avoid the huge puddles of water and/or mud.

For probably 90% of people, there came a moment where all of their efforts were for naught, and they had no choice but to submerge their entire foot and shoe in the water. For some, this moment happened twice (once at Ultra, and another later that night at Factory Town). The funny thing about it is that once you finally embraced the s**t and let your shoes get soaked, you were finally free of all inhibitions. The people who got the most soaked on Friday night were probably having the most fun.

It’s an absolute fact that everybody at Factory Town on Friday night had to soak their sneakers, and something about that just released the feral energy inside everyone there. Friday night at Factory Town was probably the wildest event of the entire Music Week.

Winner: Factory Town

Factory Town was not only firing on all cylinders during MMW24, it was firing on extra cylinders we didn’t even know it had. It was slammed from Wednesday to Sunday, featuring every type of house or techno you could imagine. Factory Town had about as many stages as Ultra, which is crazy when you think about it. It was an entire five-day multi-stage music festival of madness.

Without a doubt the best aspect of Factory Town this year was the rarely utilized Warehouse Stage. Who knew that we had our own Drumsheds right in Hialeah?! It’s dark, it’s hot, it can get a bit cramped, it’s industrial, and it’s glorious. Besides that, the Park Stage was in full swing as well – although it wasn’t covered enough to shield the rain on Friday night. That gives Factory Town three mainstages with different qualities. Pretty awesome.

Factory Town gained even more appreciation in comparison with other venues in town with limited operating hours and crazy traffic snarls, which brings us to…….

Loser: Afterlife Traffic

We were so hyped for Afterlife to come to Miami Marine Stadium. It would feature the most epic production with the most gorgeous backdrop of the skyline and the bay. It had a massive crowd capacity so there was room for everybody to take it all in. Yet, Virginia Key once again became a bit of a quagmire, as Ultra learned in 2019. It works for boutique festivals that run from noon to 2am, but when it’s just 6PM-2AM and even the first opener is stellar, you’re stuck with a rush of people all at once – which means a rush of traffic.

Unfortunately, the lessons Ultra learned over three days in 2019 were not passed on to this team and many of the same issues returned. The traffic was simply insane because there was one road in and out. It took about an hour to get from Brickell to the venue, and this trip normally takes about 10 minutes. It was bumper to bumper the entire way there and cars were driving on the shoulder to make it. As it turns out, rideshare vehicles were causing many of issues because they were stopping in arbitrary places and causing unnecessary traffic hold-ups. The traffic on the way out was even worse than on the way in. If you parked in the cheapest lot it probably took over an hour just to get out of the parking lot (and that’s if you got to your car before the show even ended).

The team made some traffic management changes for day 2 which reportedly helped a lot. If the organizers incorporate the lessons learned and try again with more shuttle options perhaps it could work – but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Afterlife go back to Factory Town or maybe Island Gardens in the future.

Losers: Resident Karen Organizations

The main reason Afterlife (and probably any other large event) will not return to Miami Marine Stadium is the local Karens Alliance (or whatever they call themselves). Resident organizations and their condo commandos were ready and waiting to complain about anything and everything relating to music events during Music Week. Residents in Key Biscayne and Brickell started complaining when the Afterlife team was merely testing the lasers and lights in the days before the show. We can’t deny that they had some reason to complain with the traffic situation, but they had to take it to the next level of complaining that they couldn’t sleep because of the occasional errant laser and some faint bass they believed they heard. The Key Biscayne Karens swiftly kicked Ultra out in 2019 and we can be sure they will do whatever they can to block another big event from happening there again. Even the Miami Boat Show gave up on that space.

The local Karens weren’t just complaining about Afterlife. The Downtown Karen Alliance was simply outraged that Ultra and its attendees could be granted an extra hour on Saturday night and and extra 30 minutes on Sunday night. Considering that Ultra lost about three hours on Friday night and untold amounts of money cleaning and preparing the site on Saturday morning, an extra 90 minutes seems like the least the City of Miami could do. Luckily for us, Miami felt the same way and granted the extension for this once-in-a-generation occurrence. The latest extension occurred on Saturday night when Ultra was allowed to run until 1 am, which is the most convenient night for such a thing to happen. The extra 30 minutes on Sunday allowed Ultra to run until 1030PM – not exactly late by any stretch. In the days after they were all over the press threatening to take action.

The best action would be for all of these people to get a life. The local Karen organizations are, without a doubt, the biggest losers of Miami Music Week 2024.

Winner: Strawberry Moon

The MMW pool party landscape has seen a lot of negative change over the last few years. Many of our favorite pools, like The Delano, were closed down, sold, and are undergoing renovation. The worst part? When the incredible renovations are completed, there is little to no chance we’ll see a pool party there ever again. That’s why it was so refreshing to add a new South Beach pool to the mix in 2024. Strawberry Moon opened some years ago, but it quickly got into a spat with the Miami Beach government over sound ordinances. After a few big pool shows around its grand opening, it was forced to tone things down for a while. We’re not sure what changes occurred to allow Strawberry Moon to live up to its full potential, but we hope the changes are here to stay. It has a great layout and hosted some awesome events this year, such as the STMPD Pool Party.

Loser: Pool Parties on Friday

Ultra wasn’t the only one who got screwed by mother nature on Friday. A whole host of pool parties were set to occur that day, and most of them had to cancel. There’s just no way around it, and it was a major bummer for all involved. Give it up for all of MMW’s hardworking event promoters like BLNK CNVS, 7Lines Group, APEX Presents, Humans Alike, Link Miami Rebels, Jonathan Cowan Productions and more for rolling with the punches and still managing to put on amazing events for us here every year. Luckily things turned around later on Saturday and were beautiful on Sunday.

Winner: Adam Beyer

Adam Beyer went from having an 8PM set on Ultra Friday to closing the megastructure on Sunday. The Drumcode maestro was about 30 minutes into his set on Friday when everything shut down, and he hadn’t even gotten to play PATT yet! Needless to say, this could not stand. Eric Prydz stepped aside to offer his closing slot to his B2B buddy who closed it down on Sunday in epic fashion. All told, Adam Beyer got to play 1 and a half sets at Ultra and he got to play his own set during Drumcode Friday in addition to his b2b with Layton Giordani. Plus, Beyer’s monstrous PATT remix got played by practically every DJ that week anyway.

Loser: Chris Lake & FISHER Under Construction

While some DJs got to play extra sets, the highly anticipated Chris Lake & FISHER Under Construction show couldn’t be rescheduled this year. The pair shared their intentions to play Ultra’s 25th Anniversary in 2025, but we’ll have to wait until the Fall to see if that comes to fruition.

Loser: A State of Trance Fans

A State of Trance fans had just about accepted the move to Worldwide from the Megastructure, and then the rain this year took it away almost completely. ASOT newcomer, Maddix, ended up being the final set of ASOT Miami 2024 as the rain cut his set 5 minutes short – and the rest is history. The rain cancellation meant that ASOT fans lost out on Armin van Buuren‘s highly anticipated ASOT Miami set AND his b2b set with HI-LO. This double whammy was hard to absorb, as Armin’s ASOT Miami set is frequently regarded as one of his best each year. While Armin did get to perform on the mainstage, the trance family knows the two sets are almost incomparable. Here’s hoping we get another extra-long Armin set in 2025.

Loser & Winner: Bayfront Park

Our dearly beloved Bayfront Park definitely lost this year. That torrential downpour on Friday turned it into a giant mud pit that was strung back together with mulch and plastic cladding so people could still walk around and enjoy the festival without swimming in mud. Between the rain, the mud, and the usual craziness of Ultra, Bayfront Park is looking ROUGH right now.

Luckily for Bayfront Park, and Miami, Ultra is responsible for a total cleanup of the park and will have it looking brand-spanking new before too long. So why is it that Bayfront Park is also a winner?

Well, Bayfront Park is still one of the most iconic festival venues in the world, but that’s not all. By the time Ultra returns for its 25th Anniversary in 2025, the long-dormant Bayfront Park fountain will be revitalized and functioning once again! The fountain will incorporate smart lights and water displays that you can bet will be incorporated into Ultra’s production. The mainstage views in 2025 will be more gorgeous than ever before.