Guide to attend one of the most important events in the history of electronic music: Ultra Miami at Bayfront Park.
Let's move 10 years ago. It all starts with friends. Accustomed to listening to music on YouTube, we decided to change and search related videos. At that moment, a looping video called RELIVE ULTRA MIAMI 2012 (Official Aftermovie). We didn't know what the festival was and its location, so we entered it.
At first we only listened to the audio, until the moment you hear 'Spaceman', 'Ladi Dadi', 'Superlove'… and you're forced to watch the video. We were so used to seeing videos of festivals in Europe that such a different video, in a few years, would mark one of the best experiences of our lives. "One day we'll step on this place" we laughed, knowing that at that moment it was practically impossible for us.
Now, let's move forward 5 years. We had visited 2 low-cost festivals such as Electro Beach Music Festival (located on the border between Spain and France, in Port-Barcares) and Meo Sudoeste in Zambujeira do Mar. The leap had to be made, and Tomorrowland and Ultra were the chosen festivals. That festival so unknown at that time for us, would become the No.1 festival in the world. It was the next step after attending Tomorrowland. As of today, in 2023, this is our third edition of Ultra and hopefully not the last.
- TICKETS -
Ultra 2024 will take place between the days March 22 and 24 at Bayfront Park. Tickets usually don't sell out until a week or two before the festival. It goes through phases and the first phase always runs out shortly after opening. There are usually no problems to get it, yes, you've to stay tuned. As for the price, ticket is cheaper than what the dollars mark when converted to the euro, but you'll have a problem, taxes and shipping will raise you 100 dollars plus the price. The average ticket price is around 450-550 euros. You'll receive the ticket weeks before the start of the festival, with a code on the back to activate it. You must do it immediately, since if you don't, you won't be able to access the festival.
Once the attendance to the festival is confirmed with the ticket, we'll look for which airline to fly with. In this edition, we travel with Air Europa, but you can also find direct flights with Iberia at a price of 300-350 euros without adding billing. It's really not necessary to check in, it's enough to have a sweatshirt, long jeans in case you want to go to an after-party and a raincoat in case it rains at the festival.
- ACCOMMODATION -
Once the tickets and the flight were purchased, one step remained: the accommodation. If you want to find an apartment near the Ultra site, the most affordable would be Airbnb, but keep in mind that it won't be cheap if you decide to wait for the last days. On the other hand, if your idea is to attend Ultra and as many events as possible, we recommend a hostel, since you'll only go to sleep. There is no average price since everything depends on the location. The closer you're to Bayfront Park, the more expensive it will be, although if you are determined to go, there are currently accommodations for 1000 euros for a maximum of 6 people for 4 days.
- INFORMATION NEEDED TO TRAVEL -
· Visa: In order to enter the US you'll need to obtain a travel authorization called ESTA. you can fill it here. Normally they usually confirm in 24-48 hours. You must always travel with your passport, DNI won't allow you to fly.
· Health insurance: Unlike Spain, where health is public, in countries like the US we will be unprotected against all kinds of mishaps, so health insurance is recommended. We take out the Standard insurance through the page of IATI Seguros. It's quite cheap and covers a maximum of 300.000 euros.
· COVID-19: After the pandemic, in order to travel to the US you needed to have the COVID certificate with 2 doses and without expiration, in addition to having done an antigen test 24 hours before flying. Now, antigen test isn't mandatory and you'll only have to present your complete vaccination.
- ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL / MIAMI MUSIC WEEK -
Now yes, it's time to land in Miami. During the week of Ultra Miami, everything is focused on the Miami Music Week. Pool parties, night parties, closed dj events and even outside of the music scene you can attend an NBA game, visit the Everglades or even attend the Universal parks in Orlando. Keep in mind that some parties will be +21 (it is the age of majority established in the US) and others +18, so if you are of legal age in Spain, you will only have access to a certain type of events.
And now, Ultra Miami. Really, it's inexplicable what you feel at a festival like this. Bayfront Park is a great place to build a festival on. Make a difference over other festivals. By day, by night, it didn't matter, it's equally surprising. This festival, this city… convey a different feeling. Such is, that the stage itself is capable of enhancing a dj's set. During the last years many artists have chosen Ultra as the place to retire, return or even make their set more exclusive. The biggest example could be Swedish House Mafia or Hardwell, who have resumed their musical career here.
Regarding the secondary stages, each one has its function. Most hosts are located in UMF Radio, as it has been this year with Dirty Workz, Revealed Recordings or JACKED. Techno is divided between Megastructure, headed by Carl Cox, and RESISTANCE. Live Stage offers the most exclusive live performances and Ultra Worldwide every year hosts the full variety of musical genres with a multitude of established or growing artists.
- TIPS -
· First and most important tip, don't let alcohol or drugs prevent you from enjoying a magnificent experience. Enjoy without excesses to be able to remember what you'll possibly discuss with your friends for years. Respect each person at the festival and help them in case they're not well.
· If you want to access with a backpack, it should be transparent. You will find both in the merchandising, and in any store outside the festival.
· Regarding the bathrooms, always try to go to the furthest from the mainstage. The ones closest to UMF Radio are the most affordable since they usually have fewer people than other stages. This year they have been improved, being booths and not the typical portable toilets. As for drinks, camelbags are allowed, which you can refill for free at various stations throughout the festival. If you buy, prices range from $5 for water, $6 for Red Bull, $14-15 for a beer to approximately $18-19 for a cocktail. Regarding food, you have several food trucks throughout the festival.
· Don't wait to enter, especially the first day since it starts later. Like you, many people want to enter and queues are quite long to gain access. Plan each of the sets you want to see and use applications such as Ultra or Clashfinder to be able to organize yourself better.
· Not just for Ultra Miami, for all festivals. Wear pants, either with zippers or with a pocket that is not very wide to prevent theft. Multiple robberies take place at each festival and you surely want to keep all those memories that you have recorded during those days.
· Investigate all transportation options after Ultra is over. In case you are staying far from the festival and after 12 hours non-stop at the festival, your last option will be to walk. Uber is possibly collapsed due to the multitude of requests received, so the subway (free in this edition) or walking 1 or 2 kilometers to request an Uber are the most recommended options. In this latest edition we walked to a bar called 'The Wharf' where we quickly found a driver.
· If you don't have roaming, get a SIM card. Internet is increasingly necessary, more specifically in a festival that receives 70.000 people, so you'll need to communicate in case you or any colleague have gotten lost. Currently in T-Mobile you will find unlimited data and for 30 days a SIM for more or less 60 euros.
In short, try it! Never be left with the desire. No matter how far you're, no matter how many hours of flight, apply the typical phrase of «You have to enjoy it at least once in your life». Many times they'll ask you: "Tomorrowland, EDC or Ultra?". I'd love that thanks to this post, you can answer it from the experience of having been, because all festivals undergo changes and you never know if they will be for better or for worse. We leave you with this recap of what Ultra 2023 was like.