Around the world, countries are struggling on with the battle against COVID-19. The US is seeing record numbers of daily cases, while European nations are heading back into lockdown. However, in Taiwan the picture couldn’t be more different. The island nation recently celebrated 200 days without any local infections, businesses and schools are open as usual, and large-scale events are gradually making a comeback.
In September, 25,000 festivalgoers descended on Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park for S2O Taiwan: a Songkran- themed EDM festival spanning two days. Following on from this, last week an estimated 130,000 people took to the streets for Taiwan Pride, where-aside from the lack of international tourists- you’d hardly know that anything was amiss. Hoping to emulate the success of these events is EDM festival franchise Ultra, who are gearing up for Road to Ultra Taiwan 2020 in mid-November.
Road to Ultra Taiwan 2020
Known as one of the most popular EDM events in the world, for years Ultra Music Festival has been expanding abroad, launching in 40 cities around the globe. However, as news of the pandemic began to spread, Ultra had no choice but to cancel and postpone all shows for the remainder of the year, devastating fans worldwide. Now, at long last, things are looking up. In early October, Ultra announced the return of Road to Ultra Taiwan, triggering a frenzy among local fans as outsiders looked on in envy. Just three hours later and all Phase 1 tickets were sold out.
What makes the announcement all the more exciting is this year’s lineup, with Alesso, Kayzo, Slander and Vini Vici all slated to play, as well as support from others. In times where international travel is exceedingly difficult, it’s worth commending the determination these acts have to performing, as they will all have to undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Taiwan. Additionally, local legends DJ RayRay, PeiPei and DJ Junior are expected to perform during the event.
Taking the impact of the pandemic into consideration, this year's Road to Ultra Taiwan will be limited to a one-day event but will still feature the flawless visuals and stage production that fans have come to expect. For those unfamiliar with Ultra, let’s take a look back at the brand’s relationship with Taiwan over the last few years...
Ultra’s History in Taiwan
Road to Ultra made its debut in Taiwan in 2014, when it was held in the southern city of Kaohsiung and welcomed the likes of Above & Beyond, Chris Lake and Ummet Ozcan. In 2015, the festival made the move to its current home at Dajia Riverside Park in Taipei, a huge expanse of land to the north of the city, overlooking the Keelung river. Notable highlights from the second edition include festival stalwarts Afrojack, Alesso and Armin Van Buuren, who drew in over 12,000 attendees and secured the island’s reputation as a destination for party goers in Asia.
After taking a one-year break, in 2016 Road to Ultra Taiwan came back bigger and better than ever. In addition to pervious performers Afrojack and Alesso, this time round DJ Snake, Deadmau5 and W&W all joined the lineup, raising the audience size to more than 15,000 people. Moving on to 2017, Ultra showed no signs of slowing down. A stellar lineup consisting of Martin Garrix, Zedd and The Chainsmokers brought in approximately 25,000 fans and set a new record with 17,000 single-day admissions.
2018: An Ultra Upgrade & Two New Stages
The last time Ultra came to Taiwan was in 2018, when Road to Ultra was upgraded to Ultra Taiwan, becoming a two-day festival for the first time. For this edition, the usual single stage was replaced with three, namely the Ultra Main Stage, Resistance Stage and Ultra Park Stage, making room for a wider variety of music genres and bringing in a more diverse range of people. The acts that performed that year included Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello, Alan Walker, Galantis, Marshmello. Eats Everything and Pan-Pot, among others.
In the aftermath of the 2018 show, Ultra called upon the help of internationally renowned production company Final Kid to release the official aftermovie. Besides a banging soundtrack, the video shines a spotlight on the beauty of Taiwan, incorporating shots of traditional temples and natural scenery as a way of promoting the local charm t. Check it out below: