Ultra Music Festival is an electronic dance music festival that takes place every March in Miami, Florida. The festival was one of the original EDM festivals and was designed to coincide with Winter Music Conference. In 2013 for the fifteenth anniversary show, the festival expanded to a two weekend format similar to Coachella.
It appears that was a one time occurrence as the festival will return to one weekend in 2014. Ultra Music Festival is consistently one of the most popular destinations for electronic dance music fans. The tropical weather of Miami allows them to host the event with virtually no other competition.
UMF runs from Friday to Sunday. On Friday and Saturday the music ends at 12AM, but on Sunday the music ends at 11AM. The one hour early closure on Sunday is to appease the local Miami population who have submitted multiple complaints due to the noise and overcrowding that occurs during the festival.
2013 saw the largest attendance ever with over 55,000 people attending each day of the show. When the music ends and people are left to find their way home or to the many different after parties, it’s like you consume the street and takeover the night. There isn’t another festival where you descend upon the city when you leave like UMF.
For most dance music fans, Ultra is a mecca and a must attend at least one time.
Ultra music festival is held at Bayfront Park, Miami which overlooks Biscayne Bay. Seven blocks north of the venue is Bicentennial Park which used to be the home of Ultra. Construction has limited the use of Bicentennial Park.
Currently it is rumored that Ultra may be looking for a new venue in 2014 in order to house the increased attendance they have experienced over the past years.
Tickets for Ultra Music Festival are always in high demand with pre-sales selling out in seconds. Many fans have complained in the past that the number of pre-sales available are too limited and that the servers are not configured to handle the amount of web traffic coming to the site at one time.
It’s recommended that you purchase your tickets officially through the festival and do not rely on third parties. As the festival approaches, tickets typically sell out causing a spike in secondary market prices. People often sell tickets outside of the venue, but it is difficult to determine whether these are legitimate or not.
General admission tickets will grant you regular access each day, while VIP includes access to private viewing areas across the different stages. If you are interested in escaping the crowd, then it is recommended you purchase a VIP ticket. The privileges of VIP also include express entry which is beneficial considering the often smoldering heat that’s bothersome while waiting in line.
Ultra is one of the most international music festivals in the United States and the experience expands far beyond the daily shows. The night clubs in South Beach are some of the finest in the world and most of the DJs host afterparties there that go until 5-6 AM.
It’s recommended that you book a hotel within walking distance to the venue. It can be almost impossible to get on a taxi or other method of transportation after the show ends. If you stay in South Beach or further away from the venue, you are risking the chance of being stuck at Bayfront Park for an extended period of time.
One of the biggest complaints about UMF are the service fees associated with the ticket price. Often these can add anywhere from another $50 – $75 to the listed price. Ultra’s response is that fans should take advantage of the pre-sales where ticket prices are dramatically reduced compared to the general public sale.
Overcrowding is a concern given that the festival has sort of overgrown the Bayfront Park venue. At times it can be extremely difficult or even dangerous to navigate the crowd or travel to other stages. If you are a smaller individual, consider purchasing a VIP ticket so that you can have better access and escape the crowd when necessary.