Ultra Music Festival Miami
Ultra Music Festival Miami

Your Ultimate Guide for Ultra Music Festival: My Experience

Tips for Surviving Your First Ultra Music Festival Miami

After attending Miami’s Ultra Music Festival for quite some time now, I’ve got this three-day endurance test down to a science. Whether you’re a fresh-faced raver or a veteran of the circuit, Ultra can push your mind and body to the limits. But make no mistake – with the right preparation and mindset, surviving and thriving at this beloved festival is very doable. Just follow my hard-earned tips.

As with every multi-day festival, Ultra Music Festival is a marathon, not a sprint

First and foremost, approach Ultra Music Festival like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. This is a mistake I made my first few years – going too hard too fast and burning out before the weekend was over. Pace yourself, take breaks to rest and rehydrate, and resist the urge to overindulge, whether it’s with substances, endless moshing, or trying to see every single set. Ultra is a marathon dance party – you need to conserve your energy to go the distance.

To that point, get to the festival grounds as early as doors open each day – 4 pm Friday and 1 pm Saturday/Sunday. Being one of the first insides pays major dividends beyond just beating the entry lines. You can grab a prime spot at whichever stage you want, refill your hydration pack at the water stations, and maybe even squeeze in a power nap on the lawn before the music kicks off. Wander the grounds to scope out the various stage layouts and start mapping out your schedule. Utilize those first few hours to get the lay of the land.

Stay hydrated! Water pack and Camelbak

Speaking of hydration, this cannot be stressed enough: bring a refillable water pack or Camelbak. They’re permitted inside, and hitting up the free water stations to refill beats getting gouged for overpriced bottles all weekend. Trust me, the first year I went without one, I must have dropped over $100 just on water alone. Not a mistake I’ll make again. Staying properly hydrated is crucial for your health and stamina across these three sweltering March days.

Comfy over stylish

Comfortable shoes are another essential – leave those fashionable boots or sandals at home. You’ll be doing intense amounts of walking and dancing, so find some quality sneakers with good tread and ankle support. These days, I go with lightweight running shoes and pack an extra pair of cushioned insoles to swap in. Your feet will thank you later. At my last Ultra, my step count was showing more than 20 km walked a day.

Suncream, sunglasses, earplugs: get them!

Portable phone chargers and sunscreen are two other must-have items that can make or break your Ultra experience. With your phone being your camera, portable stage guide, and a way to meet up with friends, having a way to keep it juiced is key. As for sunscreen, you’ll be out in the open for hours on end – slather up regularly or you’ll be cripplingly sunburnt before the weekend is over. The same goes for sunglasses and earplugs to protect your eyes and eardrums respectively.

Don’t drive!

Getting to and from the festival grounds can be a nightmare if you try driving yourself. The area around Bayfront Park has extremely limited parking, so do yourself a favor and take public transit or ride shares instead. Especially if your hotel or stay is in Miami Beach. I always take the Metrorail and swap on the Metromover at Bayfront Park Station. It’s quick and cheap, and no parking fees or sitting in post-show traffic for hours. Just be sure to load up your transit app or have a ride service pulled up as soon as you exit the festival at night.

Go and discover the lineup

Most importantly, keep an open mind to discovering new artists and sounds you may have overlooked. In my first Ultra, I made the rookie mistake of camping out at the main stage all weekend. While admittedly stacked with the biggest draws, some of my most euphoric festival moments have come from wandering into the RESISTANCE, Arcadia Spider, or other “undercard” stages and being blown away. The beauty of Ultra is that there’s so much talent to experience across every genre imaginable. So scout the lineup, and plan out a schedule, but also leave room to get blissfully lost along the way.

Respect the locals. You’re the guest!

Finally, while Ultra is an all-out rager, remember to be respectful of the downtown Miami residents once you stumble out at night. Keep your voices down, clean up after yourselves, and avoid anything that could get you in trouble or ruin the vibe for future editions. We’re all here to escape reality and celebrate life through music and dance – but we’re also guests in this community. Extend that PLUR ethos beyond the festival grounds.

With some preparation and self-discipline, the Ultra Marathon can be conquered and savored rather than indulged to the point of burnout. Hydrate, wear good shoes, try new sounds, and soak in every glorious, sweat-drenched moment with your tribe. I’ll be there dancing right alongside you all weekend long as always. Keep the energy flowing and the vibes soaring. This is what we live for!

Ultra Music Festival will return at Bayfront Park, Miami, from March 22 to 24, 2024. Tickets are sold out.