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Ultra Music Festival Survival Guide | Top 10 UMF Pro Tips

by Nadine Pasterczyk

We are about 2 months away from Ultra Music Festival now guys!!! I know all of you are losing your shit about how amazing this year’s edition of UMF will be. And some of you may be frequent festival goers and are seasoned veterans. But some of you may be new to the scene and this might be your first music festival.

We spoke with Billy Morton, our favorite admin of the Ultra Music Festival (Official) Facebook group. He’s been to Ultra 7 consecutive times (2019 will be his 8th), so he really knows his stuff. So we thought, who better to ask than him to give us a few tips for any first timer. And here they are, “Billy Morton’s UMF Pro Tips”!

1. Footwear

Do yourself a favor and choose a comfortable supportive shoe. You will be standing, walking, and dancing all day long on concrete, mulch, plastic flooring, dirt, and grass. I would not recommend high heels or flip flops. You will see some people carrying their heels and walking barefoot towards the end of the night, it’s not a smart decision. They may not be the most fashionable, but runner’s shoes are a great option. Also, be prepared for them to get trashed. I wouldn’t recommend wearing white or light-colored shoes unless you are ok with them turning black.

2. Black Boogers

At the end of the day(s) many of you will get back to the place you are staying and begin cleaning yourself up from the fun. To your surprise, when you blow your nose, you will be alarmed to find you just blew out BLACK boogers. This does not mean you are going to die. It simply means you have been breathing in all the dust and filth all your fellow ravers have kicked up.

3. Someone That Needs Help

If/when you see someone that has gone beyond their limits and may appear to need some help, please reach out to them. All it takes sometimes is to see if someone is ok, maybe give them some water, some food or anything they may need. If someone is beyond this point, please get the attention of their friends or medical staff, which will be posted up all around the venue. Yes, some people make some poor decisions and are often irresponsible but providing a lending hand can save a life.

4. Hydration Packs

These are great to have to keep you hydrated throughout the day without leaving your spot to get more water. I also use mine to store all of our items, so my pockets are not full and bulky. **SIZE OF HYDRATION PACK** You will NOT be allowed in with the larger hydration packs. The last few years, the largest Camelbak allowed was the LOBO. It has a 100oz bladder and two small pockets. Sometimes Ultra says only one pocket is allowed but I’ve had them confirm the LOBO is ok and I haven’t been turned away with it the last several years.

Vibedration hydration packs are great for staying hydrated at Ultra Music Festival. Vibedration also offers many great hydration packs in tons of cool patterns | Photo via vibedration.com
5. Smartphones

Smartphones will be lost, stolen, and damaged. Do yourself a favor and keep them secure and not exposed from your pockets or left unattended. I hate to say it, but people will be there snatching phones, even out of pockets; it happens every year. I suggest putting an alternative phone number and/or an address on your lock screen so that if someone finds it they can contact you or send it, some people are PLUR so it’s worth the chance. Should you find a phone, the best thing to do is to take it to lost and found, unless they read this; then you can call them or ship it.

6. Festival Flu

Festival Flu is a real thing folks. Do yourself a favor and start building your immune system days, up to a week before the event. Take a good multivitamin, get good rest, stay hydrated, and eat well. Me personally, I take Emergen-C and multivitamins in the morning and at night before bed after each day of Ultra. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

7. Toilet Paper

Take a package of toilet paper and/or wipes with you. After a few hours, there will be none left in the potties.

8. Thieves

Unfortunately, there are people who go to the festival for the sole purpose of stealing. Every year people mention that they were pickpocketed while in crowded areas. Keep your valuables in zipped or buttoned pockets, a fanny pack, Camelbak, clear backpack, or my personal favorite a FlipBelt (seriously, this thing is AMAZING, thanks Cameron Bush!). If you go the clear backpack route, do your best to not have money, phones, wallets, etc. visible. Some folks will even use a small lock on the zipper for added protection

Fanny packs and flip belts are great to prevent theft at Iltra Music Festival.
Take note of the flip belt and fanny pack | We ain’t got no time for thieves | #protips
9. Gratuity

Please be courteous to your waiter/waitress or bartender when paying your bill. It is common courtesy and practice to tip 20% of your total. Most of these people get paid far less by the hour than most hourly employees and they depend on their gratuity. Also, take a close look at your bill because some places automatically apply the gratuity and if that is the case, you are all set. Shout out to Joseph Fre for this pro tip.

10. Food Inside the Festival

In past years there have been a variety of foods available. Last year we saw pizza, grilled cheese, meat on a stick, Thai noodles, fruit smoothies, a vegetarian place, sausages and peppers, quesadillas, mac and cheese, arepas, chicken fingers, falafel, and there was even a coffee truck and a conch shack food truck. There is usually a good selection of food trucks and they vary their selections from year to year. The official Ultra App will be updated with food information a few days before the event — which can be located in the “points of interest” section of the app.

Ultra Music Festival finds its new home on Virginia Key. Buy your tickets here. Buy tickets now!

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