By Maria Sabatella.
Ultra Music Festival is an outdoor electronic music event held annually in Miami, Florida during the month of March. Once again, Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is back this year with a two weekend celebration. This year UMF is celebrating its 15th anniversary that will take place at Downtown Miami in Bayfront Park during the weekends of March 15-17 and March 22-24. Last year a record of 165,000 people attended the festival. This year the expectation of attendance is over 300,000 fanatics coming from different countries.
UMF was founded in 1999 and started off as a one day event as part of the Winter Music Conference. Until 2006 Ultra was known as a one day festival. From 2007 to 2010 the festival was a two day event. From 2011 to 2012 the event was a three day festival. UMF is known all over the world due to its different locations throughout the year. UMF takes place not only in Miami, FL, but also at Ibiza, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile and Seoul, South Korea.
At the end of last year/ beginning of this year, the City Of Miami, tried to cancel the 2nd weekend of UMF because they believed “the festival would be disruptive to the local business community and area residents due to noise, nuisance behavior of festival goers, and grid locked traffic.” The resolution also stated that “consecutive weekends will cause disruptions in work in local offices and create difficulty in accessing residential buildings”. Fans signed a petition in order to not cancel the event. Ultra offered to give the city $500,000 to help pay for extra police and fire services. The commission decided to give Ultra two weekends but only on a trial basis. Based on the behavior this year, the city would decide whether next year the festival can have two weekends as well.
This year, some of the best known DJ’s in the world will be a part of the two weekend experience such as: DeadMau5, Kaskade, Tiesto, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Afrojack, Avicii, and Swedish House Mafia who will be ending their One Last Tour the 3rd day of the second weekend.
To Parents: Don’t worry, your children will be safe with plenty of security walking around the festival and outside Bayfront Park. This year there will be additional security to ensure maximum safety for all attendees.
To Attendees: Go out there and have a good time. If you still haven’t bought your tickets, what are you waiting for? Weekend 1 still has tickets available, but hurry they are selling out fast. Remember this is an all age event!!!!
Here are a couple of safety tips:
- Get there early– There is no reason to miss the best artists at the end of the night but I found it was much easier to get out of the crowds (alive and intact) about 10 minutes prior to closing. The park does shut down and you do not want to be left in the middle of the huge crowds pushing their way out to the street.
- Dress Comfortable– Keep in mind this is an outdoor event. *Rain or Shine! Your Ultra uniform should be light and comfortable. Carry only what you need (ID, Insurance card, cash, Ultra ticket). Wear comfortable sneakers, shorts and a tank top. If you can pull off a hat, do it. Sunglasses as well as sunscreen are good as well. The problem is, once night-time happens, those sunglasses become useless and you have no lockers to store them while at UMF and there’s no re-entry. So, bring cheap ones. You will probably lose your glasses. Prepare to carry nothing with you but, if you must, get an easy to wear purse with a single strap.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of water or sports drinks or a little bit of both. You need to maintain the water in your body that will be lost from sweat and movements.
- Apply Sunscreen– The extra sun protection is great.
- Cellphones – Be prepared to lose your battery really fast due to the poor signal.
- Download the Ultra App – This will allow you to keep track of your schedule. Grab a schedule and just look at the current time slot and the next. Looking at who’s playing at 11PM won’t help you and you’ll just look at the program 50 times in a day anyway. Look at right now (noon) and 1PM and make sure you know when to move to another tent / stage.
- Take regular breaks. You can’t leave the park and re-enter but you can find a tree to rest under.
- Choose a meeting spot – Just in case you lose your friends at some point. It is impossible to find anyone. You will spend the entire concert looking for a single person and never find them. A meeting spot “on the right side of main stage by the bathrooms” leads to a four hour search party.
- Don’t drink alcohol and don’t do drugs.
- Lastly- DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET! Don’t post photos of your ticket online. The barcode can be copied and used by someone else and when you show up at the gate, the ticket won’t work.
Electronic dance music has recently filtered into the mainstream, taking over the most popular radio stations and television ads. From frat parties to clubs, electronic dance music is now a staple of this generation.
Ultra is an unique experience and if you are an electric music fan, Ultra is the only place to go.