“Complete Nightmare Disaster”: Zedd Lived Out Every DJ’s Worst Fear at Ultra—But Still Delivered a Set for the Ages
Zedd found himself in a pressure cooker on one of the world's biggest festival stages.
You're about to perform for tens of thousands of fans at one of the world's biggest festivals. You've been preparing for months. But minutes before you take the stage, everything falls apart.
This scenario is the stuff of nightmares for DJs—even luminaries like Zedd, whose world turned into a real-life fever dream when his plans to throw down on the Ultra Mainstage were throttled by a freak software accident. In the wake of his set on Friday night—which was still as spectacular as ever—the Grammy-winning producer took to Twitter to lament the performance, which he called a "complete nightmare disaster."
Zedd found himself in a pressure cooker, "freaking out the entire show" after his USB and backup drives were corrupted by a software malfunction. Replying to a fan who asked why he hadn't tested his USB prior to ensure it functioned properly, Zedd said he was producing edits until the last minute. His team didn't have the new tracks yet and when they attempted to sync them to the thumb drive, everything went haywire.
It's an all-too-familiar predicament for electronic artists. Updating software like Ableton and rekordbox—two industry-standard programs for music production and DJing, respectively—comes with high stakes. An artist may not have the proper drivers installed for the revamped software to communicate with their device's operating system, leading to vexing consequences like corrupted files and missing plugins.
"Very valuable lesson learned on my side though; never update rekordbox until you’re forced," Zedd, who seems to be in good spirits despite the dilemma, wrote in a follow-up tweet. "I’ve just not been playing shows for a little so I was WAY behind on updates and thought I maybe should."
The fans, of course, were none the wiser. They danced and screamed as if Zedd weren't frantically navigating technical difficulties amid an imbroglio on the nation's biggest stage. And the consensus was that no one even noticed—a testament to the resiliency of one of the world's greatest electronic music producers and songwriters.
A slew of Zedd's contemporaries ultimately chimed in with their support and empathy for the unfortunate situation, which trance music icon Ilan Bluestone called "the worst feeling on earth."
"i’m so sorry this happened to you brother, i can’t imagine how it must feel," wrote Deorro. "being so prepared for such a show and boom, everything falls apart last minute."
"Oh wow def didn’t notice and danced my ass off," added Sam Feldt.