REVIEW – Ultra Cape Town

Ultra SA

“Come okes we need to go”, 5 burly men scream at each other, scantly clad with hints of lumo and biceps showing. Its just hit 5 30PM and the fears of end-of-week traffic reign prominent in our mind’s eye. Thankfully the Capetonian work ethic has given us sweet reprieve as the N1 and N7 seems to flow with consummate ease. We’ve stepped out of our normal comfort zone. We aren’t the pariahs of social “cool” that we might normally at least try and lay claim to, we are going raving and the glow sticks are already cracked in the car. Now we all have a strong history of rave culture, as the Ford Figo is revving in the top ten percentile of the counter, red-lining in anticipation. We have adorned the litany of super clubs Cape Town has hosted since the late 90s, but now our sole goal is to make the start of Martin Garrix’s set, watch the sun limp beneath the horizon and cut giant air shapes with our timeless dance moves. Holy shit, we are going to Ultra, as the sweet smell of red bull and our compatriot Kirkby’s whiskey farts permeate the car air.

Perfect timing, we think, as the clock strikes 6 30 and we turn down the familiar dirt road towards the Ostrich Farm. But alas, what sorcery is this? A double line of cars as far as the eye can see, with no light at the end of what has suddenly become a dark tunnel. Fuck. And so began a 120 minute snail paced crawl through the dusty forest. Tension ran supreme and the sweet jack Kirkby got while doing push ups in Cape Town is beginning to wear increasingly thin. How is he going to fit in now? The poisoned dangled carrot is that throughout the duration of the wait, we can hear a distant thundering bassline, an allure that kept us upbeat, and Kirkby drunk.

We miss DVBBS, whom we later hear absolutely killed it, and now hope we can salvage some Garrix. The familiar ping pong of Animals slowly vibrates through the dusk as we take our 3rd pee in the line,  “Hurry up!!”. Finally we are ushered through the gates and run towards the stage where the ground is rumbling and the lights and screens immediately force any epileptic to see Jesus. Holy Shit. The end of Garrix set is immemorial as our focus lies at the incredible set up alone. As if a zoetic and conscious being, the stage writhes and morphs and shouts in your face. It’s a school bully playing 130bpm EDM, shooting lasers from his eyes and giving you a back rub at the same time. Now I have partied and raved for years, but I have never seen anything like this.


We again wait an innumerable amount of minutes in a line for 4 vodkas and 2 redbulls thrown into a bucket Thai style. Queues are obviously an animate thing here. We gorge ourselves on caffeine and liquor and fly at breakneck pace towards the Heineken deck that overlooks the entire dancefloor. Our mouths hang collectively as we watch this 10 000 strong crowd jump in unison as Garrix ends and the Godfather of Trance slowly makes his way to the decks. With his arms aloft and his head hung low, the silhouetted crucifix allows the smoke machines and tinsel blowers (not a metaphor for Green Point hand maidens) to fire off as he awaits a signature break down. And then it hits at pace akin to our rev counter on the journey here. Its religious. Our hands are pointing towards the heavens, any glimmer of dissatisfaction at the queues swiftly dissipates and we are, to put it rather lightly, rushing balls.

With the air thick with Tiger Balm and Poppers, we decide to check out the Second floor, as Dean Fuel is whipping the crowd into submission with some textbook long blonde hair man tunes. Normally any festival would gloat with the 2nd floor as their main stage, but here it serves an alternative function, rather than the focal point. A nice break from the EDM rocket shells being hurled at us on the main floor.

We head back to the Ultra coup-de-gras in time to see Hardwell drop that tune that sounds the same as any other on the Beatport Top10, but its fucking Hardwell so we are still giving each other high Fives and at some stage Kirkby drunkenly tries to scream “Hardwell we love you”, but by now it is being consumed by a crowd so loud and proudly South African that any individual noise is irrelevant. He finishes with 140 BPM Hardstyle mashups which make us feel old, but give an absolute surge of energy

And then finally, as we stand atop the Heineken platform, we see our childhood heroes Axwell and Ingrosso lay claim to the stage. The memory begins to verge on hazy at this point so I cant be pin accurate with any of their tracks, but the mood and cheer from all around is what counts. Say what you like about the event, but it is undoubtedly riddled with smiling faces. Everyone is genuinely happy to be there. This glee is infectious and is a step up from the head down seriousness of your usual tech-deep-tribal-minimal-snooze-house events that litter the event calendar week in and out around Cape Town. Fuck it was grand.

So ya. My first Ultra. Don’t be in a hurry. Do be in a rush. Embrace the boytjies and binnets and probably do a couple bicep curls before so you look tit in your lumo vessie. Get an industrial size bottle of Vicks Vapour Rub and coat your nipples because its an 88 miles per hour full frontal EDM orgy that is a visual and audio treat unparalleled on a local scale. The site of that stage is still doing cartwheels in my dreams, its that good. But holy shit am I glad that its only once a year, because I am only slowly getting back onto solid foods now. 7 days later.


*Follow @Stroobz on Twitter as he plays 175BPM Swedish Hardcore to pregnant chicks, and puts a rugby lock on his shoulders for Armin’s remix of that Justin Timberlake tune.

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