I flew into Miami Music Week after a crazy work week with no set plan and somehow found myself at Ultra for the weekend. It was something I had never experienced before and I created memories with some very special people that will last for a very long time.
Each time I rode the bus in, we got on and moving pretty quickly. I’ll admit to having a little bit of trepidation at the thought of long lines and waiting in the Miami heat but we never waited more than ten minutes for a bus in. After we arrived to the site, walking in was a breeze; there were little-to-no lines for security and ticket entry. My group strolled right through and you could immediately feel the energy pulsing in the air. I couldn’t help but start to dance the second I arrived and it was nearly impossible to resist the urge to dart from stage to stage in order to experience all of the sets.
I was a little unsure about what to wear (I had heard Miami Music Week itself wasn’t as “ravey” as I’d expected) but Miami Ultra did NOT disappoint with outfits! As with any festival, there were a variety of outfits from casual shorts and tanks to pieces that clearly took some time, effort, and planning. I felt right at home in my usual festival wear and was definitely inspired by other festival-goers looks for future events this year.
There were fun little set ups for photos, including the main ULTRA sign and a two-storey merchandise booth that we made a beeline for (I love my new top and bracelet). The main area was set up nicely, with multiple stages, food vendors (I experienced Island Noodles for the first time and OH MY WORD, they are INCREDIBLE), and sculptures. The main stage had an incredible set up and indescribable visuals but the stage that captivated my attention the most was the LIVE stage. Tucked away underneath the dome, it was the stage where every show caught my complete attention. Despite the amount of people that were there, I never felt overly crowded or pushed around, which was a huge plus in my book. Odesza and Illenium stole my soul with their performances, Whipped Cream had me breaking my neck and Louis the Child had me dancing until my feet gave way. I also discovered artists like Chet Porter, Golden Features, and LSDream, all who were new to me and all of whom I immediately followed on Spotify (thank god for Premium on the plane ride home).
I didn’t discover this gem until day 2 but Resistance Island was a dream getaway from all of the main area madness. It was a bit of a hike (about a 20 minute fast walk and 30 minute stroll) but if you needed an escape, there was plenty of sand, hammocks, and little spots to wander around and relax in.They had multiple stages, two in the warehouses and smaller ones scattered among the trees along with little local vendor booths for art and festival gear available. One of my favorite spots was a little wooden lighthouse that was raised up on the beach—you could look over the fencing at the stage but were still able to hear music pouring out of the Carl Cox megastructure. The serenity and peace I felt as I watched everyone lounging in the tree houses, dancing on the beach, and the incredible music lifting my cares away was such an amazing and unique experience.
Despite some others’ negative experiences, I personally had zero problems with transportation getting to-and-fro from Ultra. My group did leave a little early on Friday and Saturday but elected to walk Sunday since the weather was so beautiful. All-in-all, I felt with a last-minute venue change and having never thrown a festival on an island before, the producers definitely learned what to do and what not to do for next year. I do wish that there had been a few more water stations than what was provided. The lines for water were long and caused a lot of people to miss some sets, and some event-goers were forced to purchase water or go thirsty. Hopefully, Ultra’s staff received that feedback and it will be remedied for next year’s event.
My first Ultra experience was an unforgettable one, and this event is now on the top of my lists for me, as far as festivals go. I can’t wait to go back next year and see what else they come up with!