Ultra‘s first iteration on Miami’s Virginia Key certainly experienced a few hiccups this year. Growing pains are to be expected for any major venue move, but no one could have expected the outrage many artists are showering onto the festival for a certain business decision.
The outrage is over KFC’s mascot, Colonel Sanders, who held a paid five-minute slot in the middle of the afternoon on Ultra’s mainstage. As the advertising slot has blown into an “any press is good press” type situation, the promotional tactic was criticized by a number of artists, including Louis The Child and Alison Wonderland, who got into a back-and-forth dialogue with 3lau.
Meanwhile, a few artists stopped in to give some less-than-substantive remarks, while Chris Lake merely poked fun at the decision, calling it “Ultra Fast Food Festival.” Luca Lush called the move “a glorified PR stunt that rips on rave culture,” while Golf Clap chimed in equating it to “a Black Mirror episode” and “the next evolution in masked/helmet DJs.”
The artists’ most resounding critiques collectively shunned Ultra for holding one of the world’s most visible platforms in the electronic music scene, and yet choosing to host corporate fast food advertising when they should be promoting hardworking, rising artists who don’t have a platform. While artists like 3lau bring up that Ultra may have needed the money to pay off legal expenses, it’s still a move that left a bad taste in the mouths of many, nonetheless.