10 Things You Should Know About Ultra
Ultra Music Festival is one of the most important electronic music festivals in America and perhaps worldwide. Although its stages and capacity may not rival festivals like EDC, the atmosphere and the talent place it way above any other event. It's not only the official start to festival season. It's long been the place to premiere new tracks, catch epic once-in-a-lifetime back-to-back sets, and gauge what sounds will pop for the year to come.
After taking off two years in a row due to COVID, the organizers of Ultra are ready to bring large-scale dance music back to Miami. Acting as the culminating event of Miami Music Week, every artist under the sun will flock down south to perform at the festival and as many other parties as possible. Navigating the incredible lineup and many stages requires a bit of planning. We've compiled a list of Ultra veteran tips to make your weekend in Miami even more awesome.
Kind of an obvious tip for any music festival, but Ultra stresses this point to the max. For its many pros, security and speedy entrance are not one of them. It's a wall-to-wall headliner event with huge artists playing as early as 4 pm. Arrive after 3:30 pm, and you are likely to wait in line for at least an hour.
Only hitting up one day? Make it Sunday.
For many rookie and veteran ravers, going to an all-day festival three days in a row is exhausting. If you decide that Ultra is only a one-day affair, go on Sunday! The festival organizers do not sell single-day tickets, but it is easy to snag someone's pass who's too gassed on Sunday. Whether it’s the college or working crowd, people always bail on Sunday, leading to an influx of cheap options.
Don’t miss Hardwell.
Suppose you need another reason to attend on Sunday. In that case, it’s that Hardwell will be closing out the main stage in his glorious return to the states after he quit touring in 2018. Although his management and Ultra have stayed quiet on the subject, it's pretty clear what's going down. His set will be full of classic hits and unannounced IDs.
Go for the music, not the food.
Make sure you eat a good meal before attending the festival. Although there are plenty of food options, lines are often long. And compared to other major festivals, the food options are not very exciting.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself and HYDRATE!
Another thing to note about Ultra is that despite being marketed as a festival in “Bayfront Park,” the festival is essentially in a parking lot. The back of the main stage has grassy areas, but expect not to have much space unless you’re taking a break early in the day. There are few “chill out” areas, but the live stage is in an amphitheater with seats, providing a perfect space to relax.
Views for the Ultra Worldwide stage are better from the street.
Typically the first stage you see upon entering is the Worldwide stage hosting artists that regularly play on the main stage. It generally has an overwhelming crowd. Common sense would tell you to go around the back and get your squad together on the hilly side. However, this location essentially locks you in gets packed. Although the street side might have more people flowing through, you will undoubtedly have more room to dance and an easier time leaving.
Don’t miss Carl Cox.
For many, seeing Carl Cox at Ultra is what converts people into house and techno heads. Although underground music is not for everyone, Carl Cox has hosted his own stage at Ultra (with hands down the best production at the entire festival) for over a decade now. In recent years the organizers have given him all three days rather than two. He is guaranteed to put on a masterclass and will likely expose you to incredible songs you would have never otherwise heard of.
Don’t miss Miami Music Week parties.
As mentioned before, Ultra Music Festival is the bookend to Miami Music Week. So come a few days early to catch your favorite DJs playing at pool parties and dimly lit clubs, breaking out their darker and unreleased music for more intimate crowds. To get the lowdown on all the Miami Music Week parties check out our Miami Music Week Guide
Don’t sleep on the UMF Radio stage.
The UMF Radio Stage is generally for label showcases, but special guests always pop up. It's safe to assume that Martin Garrix will be the special guest for the Friday STMPD records showcase. Other big-name DJs will likely pop up over the weekend.
Taxi's and rideshares are tricky.
The festival location is not conducive to quick uber pickup, and surge pricing can often leave festival-goers with outrageous prices for a short drive. Your best bet is to walk as far as you can bear and then try calling a ride.