UMF 2016 Miami

My Ultra Music Festival survival guide

I’ve been to several festivals so far. One-day raves like the Streetparade in Zurich, 2-day festivals like Sea you in Germany or Sonne Mond und Sterne, also in Germany. But… I’ve never been to a party of the size like the Ultra Music Festival that also lasts 3 freaking days. Insane! The time has come, I went Ultra, and was not alone. Thousands of people from all over the world came to Miami to celebrate.
In this post I share my recommendations with you when attending Ultra Music Festival in Miami or a similar gig elsewhere in the world.
As always, it starts with a good preparation:

Preparation

Photo I.D.

Ultra only admits people of age 18 or older. Watch out: Drinking in the U.S. is not allowed until age 21.
You cannot enter the gate without providing an ID. They accept several IDs, e.g. driver’s license, a valid passport, military ID, Native American ID and Canadian ID. Foreign attendees who don’t want to bring a passport will need an ID issued by their home country and a copy of their passport. Better bring a copy than losing your passport and then you have troubles while travelling or going home.

Clear bags

Ultra allows to bring clear bags in – or Fanny Paks. Since you don’t find clear bags often, check the internet first if you want to bring one. Otherwise take a Fanny Pak. Don’t bring all stuff.  Just bring what you can dance and move around with comfortably.

Sneakers

Raving all day can be hard, so take the most comfortable shoes with you.

Toilet paper and Hand sanitizer

Portable toilets are not pleasant in any circumstance, but after thousends of people using it it will definitely get worse. (What I found out is that people are comfortable and some toilets which needed a little walk were also fine after 3 days). I took baby wipes with me for better cleaning. And because the water pumps for washing hands not always worked, using hand sanitizer is a great idea to prevent infections.

Cash

First of all, depending on your location, you have to take a cab to go to Bayfront Park. We paid around 30 USD (one-way) from South Beach to Bayside, the mall close to Bayfront Park. For the way back we also paid 30 USD, but this depends on your bargaining skills. Some driver wanted 50 USD for the same route. In such a case, just go along. There are plenty of cabs waiting. You can easily get an Uber as well.

In addition, you have to buy food, drinks and water at the festival. Beer costs 8 USD, Vodka-Redbull 13 USD and water 5 USD. The food prices vary and cost approximately 15 USD.

So make sure to bring plenty of cash.

The essential things

  • Smartphone
  • Fanny pak
  • Baby Wipes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen

At the festival

Earplugs

Ultra is f**king loud. If you didn’t already bring earplugs with you, you can get them in specific areas at the festival. Although you’re wearing earplugs, you can still hear the music.

Sunscreen and lip balm

Florida is named the sunshine state, so wearing sunscreen is in Miami a good decision as well. Lip balm in addition helps to keep your lips hydrated and protected.

Shifting between the stages

It is always easier to move through the masses while dancing, so let the music flow to your body and start dancing where you want to go. Some call this “festival crowd dance-running”.

Stay hydrated – drink water

Be sure to drink enough water. Water runs 5 USD a bottle but is well worth it, and necessary. There are several refill stations. But if your stomach reacts easily to water which isn’t 100% clean, just buy a bottle. Bringing a Camelbak is also a good idea.

Be open to new acts

Download the UMF app and make your plans before attending the festival. If you have some spots without an act, just go somewhere and listen. And feel the beat. Just live the moment. This happened to me on the first day, when we went back to the Resistance stage in order to see the Arcadia Landing Show. Since we were way too early, we heard a phenomenal set of Joris Voorn. With this tunes, I easily drifted in other spheres.

After the festival

Leaving

After the music stops there is a mass migration toward the gates on the west side of the park. If you are already 10 hours here, why rush out. Take it easy.

After parties

Miami Music Week offers plenty of acts to see, and of course there is a hell of a party going on basically anywhere in South Beach. I recommend getting a good night of sleep to regain energy and prepare for the following day. Ultra offers you all you need in a day.

Medicine

Some say “Music is my drug”. But after long days of dancing my body, especially my legs, hurt. To prevent having a cramp, I usually took a pill of Magnesium after the festival and then one the next morning. I also got my vitamines – fresh fruits or a smoothie help!

 

Now if you have read through this post, get your hands on and go to Miami. Next Ultra Music Festival is in March 24, 25, 26 – 2017!

 

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