Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ultra Music Festival 2011

Ultra Music Festival (UMF) 2011 was held on 25-27 March 11 at the Bicentennial Park in Miami, Florida. UMF did not coincide with Winter Music Conference this year so this standalone event got even more fans I believe.

Bicentennial Park is next to the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami and faces the Port of Miami (thus affording a great view of the bay area).

  • Getting tickets: UMF sells tickets months ahead on their official website. Early bird General Admission tickets price around US$120 and this is corrected to US$180-220 closer to date. VIP tickets cost about 2-3x as much and personally, I feel it is not really necessary to get the VIP tix. VIP tix just allow you to go to the artiste tent and to be on a higher platform than the rest of the crowd.

    Alternatively, you can buy the tickets off Ebay or at the venue. Do note there are no 1-day tickets and 3-day tickets do get sold out. When buying off Ebay, you can probably meet your seller at the AA Arena to exchange for cash on delivery. Or there will be punters outside the AA Arena and along the road to the venue selling tickets. Do bargain hard and bring cash. 1-day tickets can go up to US$150.

Festival day
  • Bag and body check: Ladies and Gents enter via different queues due to bag and body checks. Whistles and water bottles are not allowed into the venue (you can buy water inside). At all times within the venue, you have to wear your UMF pass for identification purposes. If you're so unfortunate to get a lady's name on your ticket and you're a dude queuing to go in, no fear... they will still let you in. Security will barcode your ticket to ensure it is legit. Also, there is NO re-entry once you get in.

Entering the Ultra Music Festival and its schedule board

  • Check the event board: Upon entry, check the schedule board for the timing of your favorite DJS. This was a no-brainer for us as we were purely there to attend ASOT500 (A State of Trance) so we just headed to the ASOT tent.

Heading to the ASOT500 tent

  • Buying alcohol: Following U.S. Laws, you have to be over 21 to buy alcohol. You can exchange for wristbands next to the event board in order to identify yourself as legit to buy alcohol. Photo ID is necessary.
  • Line-up: The details for the DJ line-up can usually be found on the website prior to event date. The line-up for the ASOT tent was Cosmic Gate, Gareth Emery, Ferry Corsten and Armin van Buuren. Of course, there were other DJs prior to Cosmic Gate and after AvB but we weren't really interested in them. The set started at 12pm but we only got into the venue around 230pm in time to listen to Cosmic Gate play.

Inside the ASOT500 tent (Cosmic Gate playing)

  • Attire-wise: wear as light or little as possible. T-shirts, shorts, bikinis, or if you're in the mood to dress up, NEON COLORS! Beads, bracelets and of course, shades is mandatory. Footwear-wise: Shoes are better than flip-flops (you risk getting your feet stomped on). Caps: Not really necessary as some tents are sheltered.

How to keep cool in the crowds

  • Pacing yourself: Do check out the DJs you want but pace yourself and stay hydrated. Can't stress this more than to always stay hydrated. The tents are packed and the weather is hot outside (burning hot sun). Bottled water costs US$5, Heineken US$7 and other alcoholic mixes like vodka + ?=US$7. There were loads of guys carrying camel paks to rehydrate constantly.

More ways to stay cool

  • Food: You need to feed the people of course. Fried chicken, fries, burgers are your typical concession foods. Chicken tenders with cold fries will set you back US$15 and a combo of fries, corn dog and a burger costs US$20. Seats and tables to eat on are minimal so don't be afraid to get dirty and sit around on the sand.
  • Merchandise: There will be tents selling UMF official merchandise like T-shirts and caps. Also, other make shift stores offer T-shirts, body painting, temp tattoos etc. A UMF cap costs around US$25. So if you really need the shade from the sun, no harm investing in a cap.
  • What to look out for: Obviously, watch out for your belongings if you're bringing a bag. It is very packed so if you get pick-pocketed, it will be your own fault. Bring as few valuables as possible. I did hear of someone who lost their entire wallet at UMF. Since this is a trance gig, there will be people doing drugs and smoking weed from their bongs. Don't be surprised when someone lights their bong in front of you. The smell of weed is THAT strong.

Armin hits the stage and the crowd goes wild

  • Leaving the venue: No matter what time you decide to leave, there will be people coming and going. Traffic outside the Bicentennial Park is tight and there will be a lot of police cars and cops directing traffic and possibly looking out for drug offenders. Cabs are hard to come by so if you've got a ride, try to hitch a ride or walk to the MetroRail.

I was fortunate enough to have a ride out of Bicentennial Park off the MacArthur Bridge with little more than a 10min wait in traffic. But this being said, I left at 9pm when David Guetta was still playing the main tent.

UMF 2012
Concert dates for UMF 2012 have been announced. 23-25 March 2011 in Downtown Miami again. Plan people plan! Stay tuned on UMF's Twitter!

All else, ENJOY the State of Trance!!!
Posted by fongie on 4/02/2011 03:06:00 AM in , , , , ,