So I'm back from 3 days of epic, hardcore partying. Enter Ultra Music Festival 13, 2011. The Ultimate House music experience for all you house fans! I took a Friday off and flew out bright and early @ 6am with friends to spend the weekend in Miami, dancing, rocking out, fist pumping and not sleeping to the best house DJs in the world.
Our schedule consisted of going to UMF at around 5pm and leaving at midnight. Heading back to the Conrad to shower & change and head out to the after parties. As a result, I thought I'd put together a little list of things I learned from my very 1st UMF experience (it's about damn time!):
- Despite the Miami heat at this time of the year, DO NOT wear flip flops! Your feet will be stepped/jumped on, splashed on & dirty as heck. So covered, closed toe, comfortable shoes would be best. Ones which you can dance in for 7 hours straight. Trust me, your feet will thank you later.
- Wear as little clothing as possible. At UMF, you will notice skimpy bikinis and butts hanging out and topless men. This is totally normal - WHY? Because spending 7-8 hours in the sun, in a packed crowd is not very comfortable to begin with and when you're rocking out to music with 100,000 other sweaty people, it makes sense to wear as little as you decently can without looking like a hooker (unless of course, you want to look like a hooker). So, my recommendation? Wear a bathing suit/bikini, short shorts, breathable fabrics and tie your hair up (unless you're like some of my friends who can somehow look glamourous even in 30C heat & 85% humidity)
- Dress as creatively as you like. It's a giant rave, hence, you will see furry leg warmers (despite the heat), lots of glow sticks, beaded bracelets, stuffed animal backpacks as other classic rave gear. Neon colours are exceptional popular as well as accessories fit for a 9 year old. This is one of the events where looking crazy is really quite acceptable here.
- DO NOT bring a big ass bag. You won't need much. Just your ticket (which is on a lanyard anyway), ID, some cash, cellphone (but no reception) & camera. There is no place to put it, there are no lockers and its probably best to make sure its a cross-body bag or a fanny pack because you'll need your hands to fist pump.
- Stay hydrated (even if it means buying $5 water on site). This seems pretty straightforward. You're hot, you're sweating, you're drinking lots of beer/alcohol.
- Be prepared to fork out ridiculous amounts of money if you're hungry/thirsty. $8 for fries, I heard the giant turkey leg is $15, bottled Costco water is sold for $5 and beers are $10 (I think)
- Bring a picnic blanket if you don't intend to be standing all day. UMF is held in an open area ie. no chairs, seating of any kind. You either rough it out on the grass (which gets gross over time) or roll around on gravel (which also gets gross over time).
- Ear plugs. Advisable if you can't take the extremely loud music and heavy bass that resonates in the chest cavity over extended periods of time or if you're very close to the stage.
- Be prepared to get shoved around ALOT especially if in the mosh pit zone (ie. crazy kids decide to push each other around for fun). Don't be afraid to push and shove, UMF is not for the shy or faint hearted. You need some guts to get your ass to the front (it can be argued that girls get through easier than guys, but guys have more pushy-manpower)
- You're not going to get enough sleep. This is a given. The festival starts @ 4pm and goes till midnight after which there are tons of after parties held @ bars and clubs all over Miami. Get ready to bring it and recover later.
- Plan to recover. My friends and I have learned that it might be best to plan a couple of days post-UMF to recover. Preferably by a pool, beach or spa. Massages might also be a good idea for aching bodies and sore feet.
- Try to stay as close to the UMF venue as possible. Getting around can be a bitch. Don't bother driving. Try to use public transport like the people-mover and forget about taxis. It's hard to get one.
- It might be a good idea to buy more tickets and sell them afterwards. Tons of scalpers were looking for tickets which you can sell at a premium. Way to pay for the trip!
- Bathrooms are gross. If you're man, just pee in a bush or you can be like my friends and pee in crack between porta-potties. If you're a girl, you're SOL (unless you're gutsy and classless enough to pee in line like one girl we saw - but its ok as long as you're pretty, no one will care).
- Last but certainly not the least, go with an open mind, a cool group of people and make new friends. Let your inhibitions go, dance to your hearts content, laugh because crazy shit will go down and enjoy the music.
Till next year... :)