ULTRA Music Festival is an incredible experience in Miami for anyone who loves electronic music or a good time in the sun. A three-day festival, ULTRA usually sells out quickly and for good reason. With over 100 performers including world-renowned DJs and artists, this event also falls on Spring Break. If you’re up for three days filled with music, dancing, and meeting new people, you’ll want to head to ULTRA. Here are some helpful things to know before you go -- and here are our recommendations for where to stay when you're there.
Be Prepared For ULTRA With These 10 Useful Tips
Image credit: Ines Hegedus-Garcia/Flickr CC-BY 2.0
1. Leave Your Backpack at Home
The ULTRA Music Festival security staff will be checking bags at the gates, and there are restrictions to which type of bag you can bring into the venue. No backpacks, CamelBaks, or other bags are allowed. Additionally, any bag you bring in must be see-through or clear. Small clutches may be allowed, but you might not want to risk getting to the gate and having your small bag taken away. Just think ahead when you’re packing for the festival and bring the appropriate type of bag!
2. Take Public Transportation
Whether you want to or not, taking public transit is probably the best, most cost-effective method of getting to and from the festival. Parking anywhere near the festival can cost more than $20/day, which can add up. Plus, traffic jams are a real thing since there will be thousands of people trying to get into and out of the festival. Park near the Metrorail, Metromover, or the Tri-Rail and hop on any one of them for a ride to the festival. The Metromover is free, which means it will likely be more crowded, but the Metrorail is $2.25 per trip and the Tri-Rail is $5 per trip on the weekend.
3. Once You’re In, You’re In For the Day
Unlike other events you may have been to in the past, once you enter ULTRA Music Festival, you are not allowed to leave and re-enter. Make sure you have everything you need before going in because you don’t want to get inside and realize you forgot something important. Luckily, the festival offers food, free water fill-up stations, and basically everything else you need during the event. Just make sure you bring money for these things!
4. Stay Hydrated
Speaking of free water fill-up stations, you’ll want to take advantage of them. With the festival taking place in late March, average temperatures can reach the low 80s. It’s important to stay hydrated in the heat and treat your body well. The festival organizers don’t allow empty water bottles to be brought in, but they do sell them inside and encourage festival-goers to refill them at the fill-up stations.
5. Bring Sunscreen
In addition to wearing sunscreen before you even get inside the festival, you should bring a bottle to re-apply while you’re enjoying the event. Since there is limited shade and the festival takes place outdoors, you can count on getting some quality time in the sun. For your skin, that means it needs to be protected and covered in sunscreen to avoid a sunburn and bad tan lines.
6. Make a Plan
With seven stages and hundreds of performers, you’ll want to know exactly when and where your favorite artists are playing. Look at the lineup and schedule ahead of time to avoid missing any performances. Average set times hover around the one-hour mark, so if you’re waiting on that DJ to finish up so you can check out another stage, just remember they might keep playing for another 30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to bop around to other stages to ensure you don’t miss out on your favorite artists.
7. Miami Will Be Packed
The streets of Downtown Miami are sure to be a scene, as ULTRA falls conveniently on most college students’ Spring Break. There are tons of Spring Break events at hotels, clubs and bars so you can certainly keep the party going after ULTRA has ended. From pool parties to beach parties, you’ll have a hard walking around Miami and not finding something that strikes your fancy. Just make sure you hydrate and be responsible!
8. Be Comfortable With Crowds
Although ULTRA started in 1999 as a one-day event, it has since become one of the largest dance festivals in the country. Every year it draws over 50,000 people to its seven stages of over 100 live performances. If you don’t like crowds, you may not be a fan of this festival. If you’re comfortable being surrounded by people dancing, singing, and being social then you’ll enjoy yourself at ULTRA. Just know that it can get crowded, space is tight, and your feet may get stepped on. For the EDM music-lover, it will all be worth it.
9. Dress Appropriately
Yes, it will be hot at ULTRA. Make sure you wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather. Shorts and a t-shirt are usually the way to go, as are close-toed shoes. Bring sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, but know that weather can easily change from sunny and warm to muggy and rainy, so a raincoat or umbrella is also recommended. Prepare ahead of time and bring all these items in with you so you aren’t a victim to the high prices for them inside the festival.
10. Buy Tickets Early
Three-day passes sell out fast for ULTRA, so make sure you hop on the website months in advance to buy yours. For this year’s festival, general three-day passes are already sold out, which tells you how serious some ULTRA festival-goers are about snagging their tickets. Pre-sale usually starts around May, almost a full year before the actual festival dates. Do yourself a favor and start looking at tickets then to save yourself the trouble (and money) of buying tickets last-minute.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.