Official Ultra 2017 Tips, Tricks, and What to Bring Thread
So in efforts of consolidating advice and tips about how to experience Ultra, what to bring, etc here is a stickied and sidebar-ed post for UMF 2017.
We seem to have one of these every year, so I'd love to keep this main post updated with all of our collective advice. What is below is what is comprised of a bunch of threads over the past few years, so I’m looking to the community to write down some of their advice and ideas so we can keep this up-to-date. If you've got some ideas on things to add, just post here or PM me!
—– Advice —–
Create A Loose Schedule:
If you're anything like me, you want to be at every single stage all the time and will have conflicts galore. Before the schedule is released, (which can be released as little as 1-3 days before the show) make a list of all the artists you want to see. Personally, I rank them on a scale of 1-5. Once the schedule comes out I'll create a loose outline of who I want to see and when (using the ranking to help with conflicts), then I'll compare with the group and create sort of a master plan for the weekend. Normally someone makes a spreadsheet that can be very helpful (often I'm the one that does it, hopefully I'll have time soon).
It's really helpful to have an idea of where you want to go and where everyone in your group will be (insert obvious comment about making meetup spots for your group). That said, don't stick to it strictly and let it rule your weekend. Go with the flow and think of it more as a helpful guide than a hardcore must-adhere to schedule.
Also, get there early and take in as much as you can. Especially on Saturday when you can roam the festival while it's a bit empty and get to know all the places you may not see at night.
Don't Be Afraid To Wander:
Yeah I know I said make a schedule above, but also take some time to explore different stages and artists than you would normally do. Every time I've been, there has been at least one time where we've been wandering past a stage, got sucked in, then ended up staying there for an hour. Let it happen and don't stress over it. Also, take some time to relax in the middle of the day. Go chill in the grass or trees by the water and just relax. You don't get this scenery for any other festival, enjoy it. The UMF Radio (past the live stage) and the Resistance stage this year (past the main stage to the far south) often have really good chill spots on hills.
Carl Cox Super Tent Mega-Structure Extravaganza :
Do it as much as you can, it's amazing. Not into house? Still do it. There is a reason this man get his own tent every year. Everyone has to experience it at least once.
This is obvious, but seriously… stay hydrated. It's Florida, it's Miami, you will get dehydrated. Especially if you're consuming party favors. Don't have a camelbak? Buy one. Hate camelbacks? Well fuck it, spend the money on water instead. It’s a cost of doing business. Do try to get a camelbak though, and refill it often. There are filling stations and there are restrooms. Often the filling stations/bathrooms past the Live Stage are the shortest lines (don't wait for that water fountain though).
Camelbaks & Backpacks:
Ultra has gotten a little more strict in recent years, the basic rule is no huge Camelbaks with a ton of big pockets or backpacks that act as Camelbaks. Don't have your Camelbak filled when going through security or they'll make you empty it, helps to have your bladder out and easily visible (this also depends heavily on who you get for security and how they're feeling… sometimes you can get in with a full bladder). Also, no backpacks at all this year unless they're clear.
Eat a nice big meal before you go. Load up on some complex carbs (I prefer a big bowl of pasta) that will last you most of the day so you don't need to spend a ton of money on food at Ultra. That said, if you're running low on energy, do eat something.
Use it. It’s Florida. If you’re from out of state, the sun is a lot stronger than you may be used to. Personally I avoid spray sunscreen, but whatever floats your boat. Don’t forget your ears and neck.
Normally we don't stay Downtown/Brickell, but we have in the past (and it's great). If you're going to be using the Metromover (highly recommended) do not use the Bayfront Park station after the festival. Make a bit of a walk and use another station to avoid stupid long lines. Personally, I like going for the Riverwalk station. It's really not a bad walk.
Speaking of the Metromover, if you're not downtown it helps to do a little bit of planning on how you'll get to and from Ultra. Ubering to the festival is easy. Ubering away from the expensive is time consuming and expensive, ditto with taxis. If you must Uber away from the festival, expect to have to walk a ways a bit from the festival to get one. Either that or leave the festival early and avoid the rush.
You'll also find shuttle/bus service, boat service (generally only for getting to Ultra), etc, etc. You can generally research those before hand.
Also, when it comes to parking… parking closer to Ultra means you'll be waiting longer to leave. Park a little bit away and walk it over, there will be tons of lots and garages all over downtown.
Talk To People:
Never be afraid to chat up the person you’re next to. If you seem someone having a bit of a rough time, see how they’re doing and if you can help out. We’re all in this together.
Some people gripe about long lines, if you’re waiting in line for bathrooms you’re probably doing it wrong. Familiarize yourself with the maps. There are always restrooms/portapotties in some less traveled areas that have no lines.
First of all, don't trust weather forecasts two weeks, a week, or even a few days in advance. Weather in Florida is unpredictable and even if you see a little thunderstorm icon above a day on your preferred weather app… that doesn't mean it will rain for more than a few minutes. That said, if you want, be prepared with a poncho or something of the sorts. A plastic bag for your electronics and wallet should be a must.
If you're buying party favors at Ultra, you're gonna have a bad time. Lots of undercovers at Ultra and lots of people selling bullshit goods. Don't risk it. If you must buy your goods in Miami during WMC, please use a test kit.
Don't bother asking "can I get XXX through security?" Seriously, how hard you get searched depends on the security person you get, the day, the time of day, the angle of the sun, the amount of people in line, how many minutes since the last break, if the third letter in the security guard's first name is a W… what I'm saying is, the rules are rules, but their enforcement is done by people who sometimes don't give a damn. Sometimes shit gets through, sometimes it doesn't. Use common sense.
Yeah, Ultra uses tickets and not writstbands. It sucks. We all know. Don't tear off the tabs. They don't use the tabs unless they absolutely have to if the scanners go down. If you're buying tickets and someone tries to sell you the tab, they're scamming you.
—– What to Bring —–
Official Ultra "What Can't I Bring In" List:
People always ask what they should bring, it’s like any other festival and each person is different. So everyone's list is always unique.
Here are some ideas on what you an bring (beyond keys, phone, wallet):
- Hydration Pack (Camelbak, whatever) or Water Bottle
- Diffraction Glasses (enough to share)
- Zip Lock Plastic Bag (good for holding all the crap, plus if it rains you can put your phone in it)
- Extra Phone Battery or Portable Charger
- Ear Plugs (Link)
- Tissues or Toilet Paper
- Hand Sanitizer
- Cliff Bars/Kind bars or equivalent
- Life Savers (for a quick sugar boost if needed)
- Extra Contacts/Case & Eye Drops (losing a contact during a festival would be miserable)