Prior to Ultra Music Festival 2011, Consequence of Sound’s Editor-in-Chief, and one-time South Floridian, Michael Roffman left me with the simple words of wisdom: “Keep your eyes open.” The advice seems obvious for properly covering a festival, but when that festival has seven stages, is flooded with beautiful bodies from every corner of the globe, and is located in one of the most picturesque locations in the United States (only bested by the view from the hill at Sasquatch!), the task can be a little daunting. Toss in dozens of world-renowned after-parties spread across some of the world’s best clubs and maneuvering through Miami Music Week can quickly devolve into a chaotic mess.
Centrally located in Miami’s Bayfront Park, out-of-town revelers have ample opportunity to explore the city’s many diverse neighborhoods — that is if they can wake up much earlier than the festival’s noon gate time. Coral Gables, South Beach, Little Havana, Wynwood, and Coconut Grove are all within reach via public transit and offer a wealth of activities that capture the essence of The Magic City outside of the festival hysteria. For those that are looking for a bit of serenity before bass-submersion, natural landmarks and relatively-calm Cuban coffee/sandwich shops are never more than a few miles apart in South Florida.
After several visits, and multiple sticky situations, CoS has just a few tips to help reduce some of the side-effects and maximize the potency of the EDM-energy that pulses through Miami’s March Madness. So, download the App, grab some paper and a number 2 pencil, cue up Google Maps, and let’s get to planning.
Senior Staff Writer
“This is not Paris/This is not Beirut/This is Miami”
Given the heat, sun, and limited dining options on-site, early preparation is key to enduring three days of Ultra and having enough energy Monday to impress your friends. We highly recommend reading the Ultra info page, but here are a few extra tips to ease your mom’s worry:
01. Hydrate early and often: Drinking alcohol during the day isn’t generally a good idea, but it is Ultra weekend so epic levels of vice can be expected. Nevertheless, try to follow every few shots with a glass of water and be sure to bring an empty camelback as Ultra is finally providing onsite water for free.
02. Obey the Peace, Love, Unity and Respect (PLUR) rule, but keep your wits: Meet some new friends from across the globe over discussions at the Mega Structure, give the appropriate amount of hugs, but remember to maintain a relationship with a pre-determined festival buddy and don’t take everything a stranger may offer you. This lesson should never be learned the hard way.
03. Stay connected to your friends: For 2013, Ultra will have a cellphone recharging station so be sure to bring a reliable charger. Downloading the app, sharing your setlist with friends, and enabling group chat will all help ease your mind when you inevitably get lost in the swarm of people moving between stages.
04. Grab lunch before entering the gates: Ultra has a strict no re-entry policy, and while there will be pitas, pizza, burgers, fruit, and ears of corn to munch on, stopping by a local eatery will provide valuable energy for the excursion.
Segafredo – 1421 South Miami Avenue – Less than two miles South of Bayfront Park, Segafredo offers some of Miami’s best sangria and bruschetta — a great pre-Ultra snack. For those that are still in need of a little pick-me-up, stop by for a few shots of their signature espresso. Not in a hurry, grab a spot on the patio and take in some SoFlo elegance.
Pasha’s – 1414 Brickell Ave – Within walking distance to the front-gates, Pasha’s is the perfect choice to grab wholesome food, on the cheap, before sweating away a ton of calories. Grab some fresh squeezed apple-pineapple juice and a veggie-kabob platter to fill up while maintaining your spring break beach body.
The Lost and Found Saloon – 185 NW 36th St – Explore Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood Art District, then swing into the tiny Lost and Found Saloon a specialty beer and hearty lunch. Known for their vegetatian/vegan platters, the saloon also brings in the meat-lovers with their baby back ribs.
Pizza Rustica – 500 Brickell Ave – Having lived in Chicago and spent considerable amount of time visiting New York, I would like to think I know a little about pizza. After years of testing, Pizza Rustica still bakes some of the best concoctions ever to be served on dough. Open until 5 a.m., Pizza Rustica is the perfect spot to grab a few rectangles, some water, and relive the day’s events.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens – 10901 Old Cutler Road – If you have never been to Miami, Coral Gables’ Fairchild Gardens is a must visit before heading downtown. Two onsite cafes mean you can enjoy an empanada while exploring vegetation and wildlife that is foreign to the rest of the U.S. Slightly out of the way, bring a camera to document this truly unique experience.
05. Know how you will be getting back home: Do not rely on hailing a cab to get you back to your Ultra staging area. If you arrive early enough, free parking is available if you want to walk, or you can pay between $20 and $40 to park in a “secure lot” — just be sure to lock all your valuables in your trunk. The Metrorail does run late to accommodate for the event, but remember to walk with a friend, grab your transit card early, and know your route before you wonder through the dangerous sections of Midtown.