Ultra Music Festival is coming to Miami this weekend

by thefestivalnews

After a two-year absence, the Ultra Music Festival is finally returning to Miami. The international festival, which was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, returns March 25-27 to Bayfront Park, thrilling fans of electronic dance music and inducing migraines in nearby residents of a certain age and drivers attempting to venture through or into downtown. The festival draws between 150,000 and 165,000 music lovers, but despite its popularity Ultra has made its share of enemies in Miami over the years, particularly the not-necessarily-youthful owners of Biscayne Bay condos assailed by thumping bass for three straight days. It has also had other problems in the past: In 2014, a security guard was seriously injured by concertgoers trying to hop a fence. Things have improved in terms of security, with fewer medical calls and arrests, which were down by 50 percent by 2017.

Still, frustration is likely this year, too, what with the logjam of downtown activities scheduled for this weekend and the ongoing nightmare of the I-395 redesign and road work. Here’s what you need to know about Ultra Music Festival 2022.

In 2019, Ultra left downtown Miami and moved to Virginia Key. Perhaps not realizing that shuttling more than 50,000 people a day on and off an island was going to be a problem, organizers banned cars and ride shares and didn’t stop to think that most concertgoers would be leaving the island at the same time. Thus the first night of the festival ended with with tens of thousands of frustrated concertgoers waiting hours for shuttles off the island or walking almost three miles across the Rickenbacker Causeway to find rides. The second night was more organized, but concertgoers still waited more than an hour for shuttles. Also, a tree caught fire. No humans were injured, although weren’t happy about the long walk back to their Airbnbs.

ULTRA LASTS FOR THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS

Performances by many of the usual EDM suspects — Tiesto and Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren and Afrojack, David Guetta and DJ Snake — begin at 4 p.m. March 25 and at noon March 26-27. THE EVENT IS SOLD OUT The only way to get a ticket to Ultra is through an (almost certainly) expensive secondary source. The festival sells out rapidly every year. You can, however, watch it live online at ultramusicfestival.com from 3:30 p.m. to midnight March 25; 4 p.m. to midnight March 26; and 3=10 p.m. March 27.

THERE ARE OTHER EVENTS DOWNTOWN THIS WEEKEND

At the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, theater lovers will be flocking to the huge Ziff Opera House to see “Anastasia” Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights (as well as weekend matinees). In the smaller studio theater, Zoetic Stage performs “Side by Side by Sondheim” Friday through Sunday. On Saturday at FTX Arena, the playoff-bound Miami Heat take on the Brooklyn Nets. If you want to see tipoff, leave home early.

BISCAYNE BOULEVARD WILL BE ONE WAY

Traffic flow map for March 25-27 in downtown Miami. Starting March 25, you will only be able to drive north on Biscayne Boulevard between Northeast First and Sixth streets.

PARKING WILL BE A CHALLENGE

With limited parking options at Bayfront Park and Bayside Marketplace, Ultra encourages ticket holders to use ride sharing options or Metrorail and Metromover. But inevitably many will be trying to park in surface lots and garages downtown, along with theatergoers and basketball fans. Costs can run up to $30-$50 a day. You can book a parking spot ahead of time at www.way.com/miami/bayfront-park-parking You can find more parking information at www.miamiparking.com

DON’T BE ALARMED IF YOU SEE A LOT OF DAY-GLO TUTUS ON THE STREETS

Many EDM fans wear costumes to Ultra. It’s a good bet that if you see a group wearing brightly-colored tutus, they are probably not Heat fans. Just remember: EDM fans may be colorful but are in general no weirder than the old guys dancing awkwardly by themselves to “Born to Run” at any Bruce Springsteen concert. Miles Church, 26, from California, dances to the music during the 2019 Ultra Music Festival on Virginia Key in March.

MATIAS J. OCNER MOCNER@MIAMIHERALD.COM

ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL

Where: Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: March 25-27

Hours: Open 4 p.m. March 25, noon March 26-27

 

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