From shortcuts to the stages to scouting the less crowded bars, as a seasoned veteran, I share my insider tips on Miami’s premier music festival – Ultra
This year, Ultra Music Festival Miami’s monumental 21st Edition will be held in its indefinite new home, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park. Ultra’s new home will allow the world-renowned and internationally acclaimed event to extend its operating hours until 2:00 A.M. and offer the festival with an increased capacity. The massive expanded space means good things for attendees. Fans will also experience in-tandem staging at both the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park, creating a wholly unique single event space.
Here is my guide after attending the past 5 consecutive years.
How to navigate between stages like a pro
Memorize that map like your life depended on it. Choose a meetup spot wisely (somewhere less crowded, preferably in a shaded area). If Ultra keeps it, the easiest meetup spot was always a giant globe next to the Heinken House. But if it changes, any specific spot at a clear landmark is best to meet when watching specific sets with friends, an SOS spot or a regrouping place at the end of the night for when phones die or friends get lost.
How to dress like an Ultra Angel
Ultra is all about its attendees that come from all around the world. Represent your country by wearing something inspired by it. You will be surprised by the love you get from strangers who are from the same countries.
How to eat a proper meal (on a budget) at Ultra
Ultra offers a variety of food trucks. But a delicious option they always have are arepas with cheese stuffed inside. They are cheap and satisfying. They also have delicious fresh smoothies to up your vitamins while on your feet hours on end underneath the sun. Other than that if you are into exploring your palette at a festival you have that option, but I stick to the high protein filling classic option to make the most of my money: chicken fingers and fries.
How to eat like a loca post-Ultra
As a college student on a budget, my best late night spots to go to post-Ultra includes your go-to late night fast food joints ala the classic Mcdonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. Aside from being open late, most American fast food chains are open 24 hours — hello breakfast at 2:00 AM. Miami has a rich cultural history, I say go explore and expand your palate. There are plenty of Colombian and Cuban hidden gems all over the beautiful city of Miami, but my favorite is more unique to Miami, a small Colombian restaurant chain called Los Perros. Where you can get hot dogs with crushed potato chips, cheese and delicious sauces on top including a cilantro sauce, ketchup and mayo mixture, and the Colombian favorite pineapple. They also have burgers, arepas, and empanadas but I would definitely try one of their hot dogs or
How to manage your artist lineup schedule like a seasoned Ultra Music Festival veteran
A super awesome thing people do when the lineup comes out is make an excel spreadsheet of all the set times and artists next to each other so you can easily pick out who you want to see, which is sometimes not as easy when viewing on your phone on the Ultra app. These sheets can often be found on Unofficial Ultra Music Festival Facebook groups. An added thing I would do is create a Google Doc listing all the artists at each set time and let my friends edit it with their name next to each they wanted to see. This way we knew which sets we were watching together and could arrange meetups from there.
How to survive 3 Days of Ultra
We’ve all seen the before and after memes floating around out there. The key is to pace yourself: make sure you drink plenty of water, rest (in between sets), and a whole lot of gumption. Sleep while you can. Like now.
Finally, my must-see acts at Ultra Music Festival 2019
Two words. Back to back. There are so many monumental b2b performances this year, from Adam Beyer b2b Cirez D, Dogblood (Skrillex b2b Boys Noize), Gigantic b2b NGHTMRE, Dubfire b2b Nicole Moudaber b2b Paco Osuna, Camelphat b2b Solardo, NGHTMRE b2b Slander.
Though Tchami and Malaa won’t be doing a b2b this year, both are individually making an appearance a day apart. On the first night of UMF 2019, Malaa will be closing the Ultra Worldwide Stage at 12:30 A.M. while Tchami makes an appearance at Ultra Main Stage on Saturday, March 30th at 7:45 P.M. These two absolutely killed their duo set “Redemption” at the live stage last year and I hope they’ll come together again (ahem, surprise appearance) to make us dance all night long
Finally, Ultra 2019 2.0 – the key upgrades
Along with extended hours and expanded festival grounds, #ULTRA2019 will also see more label and brand curated stages than ever before. Odesza’s ‘Foreign Family Collective’, deadmau5’s ‘mau5trap’, Richie Hawtin’s ‘Play Differently’, Martin Garrix’s ‘STMPD’ as well as the return of Armin van Buuren’s ‘
Due to the cultural and historic significance of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and given the unique environmental considerations associated with the park, Ultra Music Festival intends to take extraordinarily great care in its production and remediation approaches. Ultra understands that staging an event at Virginia Key means becoming the entrusted stewards of the environmental and historic elements of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.
See you there!!