Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Ultimate Ultra Guide

When you hear the word “Miami" you probably think of South Beach, tanning and a popping nightlife. While Miami may be all of that, there is a unique factor that happens every March, which makes going to school in Miami that much better. Ultra Music Festival, or Ultra as it is commonly known, is one of the worlds largest electronic dance concerts that takes place every year in Miami. People from all over the world travel to the sunshine state to experience the culture and raw energy that literally transports you to another world. Before coming to school here, I had absolutely no idea what Ultra was. Now, as a junior, I can proudly say that this year will be my third time attending with each time topping the last. No matter if this is your first Ultra or you've been going since you were in high school, here is your ultimate guide to all things UMF. 

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Ultra is no joke. Think of that one night you literally danced away and multiply that by three. Add in the humid Miami weather plus a crowd of 100,000 and what do you have? A recipe for dehydration. It is so imperative that you keep hydrated throughout the entire day-spend the five or ten dollars in water or invest in a camelback to share with your friends-all of it goes a long way. While Ultra has made efforts to keep their attendees hydrated with free water stations being implemented, sometimes you just can't (or won't) wait. While spending even more money on water seems costly, your body will be thanking you later. 

2. Pick a Meet Up Location 
Despite your best efforts to stay with your group of friends, getting separated from them is bound to happen. Make a plan at the beginning of each day to meet up at a unique spot should any one of you ever get lost. While the obvious solution might be to simply text and ask where everyone is, cell phone reception isn't your friend during Ultra and chances are you'll be too busy dancing to Krewella's newest hit to be checking your phone. 

3.  Go in With a Game Plan
Over 100 DJs showcase their talents during UMF. While it is unlikely that you will get to see them all, you can increase your chances of jamming to your favorite artists if you go into Ultra with a game plan of what you want to do. Every year, Ultra releases the set times of every artist and what stage they're going to be performing on via their app. My advice? Download this app the week of and plan your time at Ultra around the information it will provide you with. That way you aren't totally overwhelmed when you get there and you aren't missing your favorite DJ! 

4. Bring Back the Fanny Pack
I know. It's so old school. But the Fanny Pack will actually save your life at Ultra should you make the decision (and you totally should) to invest in going. Not only does it hold all of the essentials (water, keys, tickets, and phone) but you also don't even realize that it's there! There is nothing more annoying than having to hold a backpack or purse and constantly having to make sure it's untouched. A fanny pack gives you the security of knowing all of your things are safe because it is literally hanging right in front of you. The best part is it rests on your hips so you are free to fist pump all Ultra long. 

5. Pictures aren't really worth 1000 words
The best piece of advice I can offer is this: don't experience Ultra from behind your cell phone. The urge to take a million and one videos and pictures is going to be there and I'm not saying you shouldn't take any but the culture that is Ultra demands to be felt. You miss out on the beauty of everything if you're constantly trying to capture it on your phone. Take in your surroundings and dance to the amazing beats that artists prepare especially for this event. Worry about videos and pictures later because chances are someone in your group will be furiously snapping away. 

If you ever get the chance to attend Ultra Music Festival, prepare yourself for an incredible weekend filled with fun, laughs, and lots and lots of dancing. Each year Ultra changes little by little so that no two Ultra's are alike. The DJ's performing may change, but this guide is forever. 

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