An outpour of love and astonishment has erupted from Miami's electronic music scene in wake of reports that Ultra Music Festival co-founder Alex Omes, 43, has passed away. As of yet, no official cause of death has been released.
Omes got his start in the 90s as a bouncer at popular South Beach club Cameo, according to the Miami New Times. As publisher of now-defunct D'Vox Magazine, he became known as a mover and shaker in Miami's growing dance music community.
His greatest and most heralded accomplishment came in 1999 when he and then-partner Russell Faibisch held the first Ultra Music Festival on the sands of South Beach, marking the beginning of an institution that drew 165,000 people in three days in 2014. During Omes' tenure, UMF helped fuel a nation's growing appetite for EDM and inspired future dance festivals toward success.
When Faibisch and others at the Ultra camp chose to break away from Winter Music Conference in favor of later dates in 2010, Omes' partnership with the company dissolved. The break wasn't clean. Omes sued his former partner for $33 million. The case is not yet resolved.
Omes found success in 2011 and 2012 with Masquerade Motel featuring Swedish House Mafia, held concurrent with UMF and effectively keeping the group off the festival lineup. In 2013, Omes put together UR1 Festival, featuring headliners from Kanye West to Animal Collective, to take place during the week of Art Basel in December, but the event was cancelled.
Ultra has released the following statement about Omes:
"The organizers of Ultra Music Festival extend their deepest condolences to the family of Alex Omes and are saddened by the news of his passing. We will continue to remember and celebrate Alex for his love, passion and contributions to the Electronic Dance Music community."
His peers remember Omes on Facebook and Twitter as a "pioneer" of the scene, and a man of unshakable faith. He is survived by his young son, Joshua.
THUMP will update this story as it develops.