I just returned home from what is one of my
Resistance Island: This was absolute PARADISE… once you got to it. If you were in shape and sober you could make this walk in 35 minutes. If you took your time, 45 minutes to one hour depending. The island had every amenity imaginable and literally was its own festival. Techno and House fans rejoiced in never having to brave the other side and the craziness that took over the Main-stage side. It is clear that Techno is having a moment (FINALLY) and Ultra clearly put their money into this portion of the festival this year. With so much space in between stages, there was ample room to roam around, dance your heart out, and not profusely sweat just fist pumping to your
The Megastructure: Was it only me, or was the size increased this year? Whatever size… this year’s Megastructure was incredible. The only downside for me was the two Techno sets I really wanted to see there were unreachable due to time conflicts. In my opinion, Testpilot deserved his spot closing out Mega… but that’s just my two cents. (In
The Arrival Stage: The fire power missed by Arcadia’s Spider was replaced this year with the entire Arrival Stage from Burning Man. It had a phenomenal vibe, and ample areas to dance.
Ferry Passes: These were ESSENTIAL, (thanks Rave Mom) and saved our asses day one when everyone else had to run the #Ultra5K. They need to be adjusted for next year with real arrival and departure times, but it was a beautiful experience during the day, but most especially at night. The skyline of Miami is spectacular. Although the price was super expensive for an already very expensive festival… these were a lifesaver and well worth the almost $200.00 price tag. #ouch.
Sasha and Digweed: The true OG’s brought it, with a phenomenal progressive set that was exactly what the closing of Day three needed. It was superb from start to finish, and I out of all the times I have seen them… this would be my favorite.
DJ Colonel Sanders KFC Commercial: Nuff Said. Nobody paid to see an advertisement on the Mainstage. This makes us look absolutely foolish. Genius marketing and commercialism at its finest, but absolutely selling us out. I refuse to link it. Google it if you must.
A State Of Sound-Bleed: So let me explain why Ultra, in my opinion, missed the mark terribly this year on their usually stellar sound quality. At Bayfront, the logistics were so great that you would be in one stage, seemingly close to another, yet have no worries of hearing the absolute
The Crowd: For the first time in recent memory Ultra 2019 did not sell out. Many assumed this was due to the new venue, with veterans knowing that there would be some growing pains. Although they added the capacity of 10,000 more fans, you could not tell by inside the venue. In fact, it felt like the most empty Ultra I have ever attended, and this was my fourth. Pushing, shoving, kicking, and knocking people over was normalized. I myself have bruises from trying to stand my ground in the back prior to Illenium. I should have just listened to my instincts and walked back to Resistance Island for Richie Hawtin, which brings me to my next point.
#TheUltra5K: We had to walk quite a ways to get to Resistance Island. I’m an athlete. No big deal. To those unaware… it was a HUGE deal. Once you got to the other side and there was smooth sailing, stellar sets, and great vibes, all the complaining about the sound-bleed and crowd at the other stages was forgiven. However, it left those making the walk more than once or twice a day feeling worse for wear by the end of the day. This was before absolute pandemonium at the end of the first day.
ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE: “Free shuttles” they said, “no worries” they said, “we have this under control after 21 years of business” they said. Day one I knew to leave early anticipating the unpreparedness of the staff, crowd, and police officers that were on site. It took me two hours from boarding the ferry to my hotel and I was 5 minutes away from the former location of Bayfront Park. Newbies I had encouraged to ditch EDC to try Ultra just once were most excited by the ease of transportation that Ultra would bless revellers with. Ending at Midnight was always preferable for me because I enjoyed hitting the afterparties. Immediately at 5
Searches and Police Presence: Day one the cops seemed in good spirits. Walking in they took pictures with ravers, traded candy, and expressed that they were there to keep everyone safe. Day two it was obvious that the pandemonium from the previous day had them on high alert. I refrained from drinking and it felt to me as if the entire city of Miami’s police force was out to let it be known that this day was going to go off without a hitch. Fights broke out and paramedics wheeled those who partied a bit too hard and too early out of the venue with care. Searches were less than lenient. It’s great to have nice security and police officers, but with the opportunities for a dangerous situation involving firearms in today’s world, I felt that more could be improved in terms of security after the tragedy in Las Vegas last year.
Separate the Festival Tickets: Most of the fans I spoke to made the treck to the main festival from Resistance Island only once, and for great reason. The long walk, soundbleed, and lack of vibe in the crowd made Resistance Island a paradise. Ultra can learn from the expansion of the Resistance brand by selling Resistance Island only tickets at half the price of Ultra.
Better Transportation between Stages: The walk is long from the regular area, to Resistance. Larger golf carts to transport fans, or some sort of rapid transportation Disney Style could be of help here. I’m no expert, but I would have gladly paid for some pedi carts to make the journey easier by day three. A stage in between the walk and more porta-potties would also be clutch.
Optional Ferry Drop Off at Resistance: This would have solved all my problems for day three especially. For those of us making the long treck from the Ferries to Resistance without an option to bus in… this would have been a bougie alternative, allowing more time inside the festival.
Layout Change to Combat Sound-bleed: Something must be done about the stage layout. Dancing for 12 hours on concrete doesn’t bother me, although I’m definitely feeling it. The sound-bleed issues pretty much made Ultra a no go in my book for this new location for 2020. I truly hope they fix this issue because no one goes to Ultra for the “production level.” We have “the other festival” for that. The sound and set
Price Adjustments: Ultra raised prices for the 20th anniversary. VIP was notably more expensive and with fewer amenities this year. Even with the addition of more stages, many left feeling the cost exceeded the value. The increased ticket cost was meant to keep Ultra in its home at Bayfront Park. If Virginia Key is confirmed for 2020, I would expect a cost decrease to improve brand recognition. I’m sure Ultra will recover from the growing pains of the last minute venue change. I look forward to hearing the reviews safe in the
That all being said, what was your