[Editor's Note: This week, writers from our sister paper, Miami New Times, are venturing out to Ultra Music Festival to surround themselves with next-level beats, kandi kids and PLUR vibes. This is just one of their many reports about the fest.]
Watching Ultra Music Festival's idyllic official after-movies, you might get the impression that UMF is some kind of utopian music-based society where the young and beautiful run only in slow motion, where everyone is welcome and everything is pleasant.
In some ways, this is true. You're more likely to have a good time than a bad one. But it is also possible to sabotage your potentially epic, super-memorable Ultra experience. Certain behaviors stemming from ignorance, naiveté or just being kind of a party pooper can and will lead to a less-than-stellar UMF 2015.
Here are the ten people who won't make it at Ultra Music Festival. Don't let yourself be counted among them.
Kids In 2012, we were surprised at the sight of three chubby-faced youths wandering around Ultra without parental supervision. They were wearing plain white tees, like the kind you buy three for $5 in a bag at Walmart, and they'd written "Steve Aoki" across the chest in permanent marker. We asked, "How old are you?" And they shouted: "Twelve!" We asked, rhetorically: "Wow, this is your first Ultra?" But they cried: "No, it's our third!" And then we cried. This year, though, Ultra Music Festival has instituted a strict eighteen-and-over policy. So we're sorry, kids. But you just aren't gonna make it.
Black-Clad Industry Insiders What's the telltale sign that a music fan has finally evolved into an industry insider? Said person's unshakable affinity for dressing in black, from head to toe, despite the high risk of heat stroke. Miami in March is a sweltering fever dream with highs in the 90s and a humidity index of 110 percent, yet too many dance-music makers, PR reps, promoters and managers refuse to dress like they're in the subtropics. These people are also drinking a lot of alcohol. Don't they know that dehydration is deadly?
Ravers Over the last few years, a lot has changed in the way that ravers celebrate. Finger gloving has mostly taken the place of liquid glow-stick shows. And these days, you don't see quite as much poi play. There's also a lot more emphasis on glowing hoop tricks. But even with all of this topsy-turviness, glowing goodies have remained an Ultra crowd staple. So have kandi facemasks, stuffed-animal accessories and those weird-turned-trendy-turned-cliché furry boots. However, this new era of neon excitement has suddenly come to an end, as the fest tries to clean up its image in the wake last year's trampling of security guard Erica Mack and the fatal drug overdose of Adonis Peña Escoto. At Ultra Music Festival 2015, facemasks, finger gloves, laser pointers and dozens of other items have been officially banned.
Snobs Whenever the Ultra lineup surfaces, there are thousands upon thousands of people just bitching about how it's so "mainstream" or "obvious." But a lot of discerning dance types actually see the festival as a breeding ground for younger EDM fans. In many ways, it's become a rite of passage, though it's sometimes sneered upon by the snobs. But even if you think Krewella is the tween-angst Warped Tour version of dance music, there's no reason to spit in all of those smiling, screaming faces. Is it highbrow? Absolutely not. Is it a good time? Definitely. They wouldn't be able to charge $500 a ticket if it weren't. So make like a contraband rave accessory and lighten up.
The Poor Ultra 2015 is the most costly ticket so far. And without single-day passes, fans are forced to buy into the full weekend package. Inside the festival, food and drinks are overpriced. The ATM fees are steep too. And then there's the fact that most fans are flying or driving in from other cities while putting themselves up in expensive hotels. Tally all of those expenses and you're easily talking a party price in the thousands. You cannot go to UMF on a budget. There is no such experience.