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Ultra 2019: Was it worth the walk? (Review)

Ultra 2019
Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage

Ultra Miami landed a new home this year at the Virginia Key Park. Like any festival at its new location, there were some hiccups. Ultra stumbled upon a couple of obstacles but also many successes for a festival at a new location.

The 21st edition of Ultra Miami was completely sold out, with over 170,000 guests attending from 105 countries. We traveled from Seattle, the great Pacific Northwest, across the country and checked out the new location for you PNW festival goers. Here’s how it went!

Location and Entry

Previous years, Ultra Miami was held at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. 2019 marks the first year of having the festival at Historic Virginia Key Park and Miami Marine Stadium. There is a bridge that connects downtown Miami from the Virginia Key. The view of the new location is unbeatable. Across from the festival is a beach with clean cut grass and clear blue water. As for entry at the new locations, lines went quick at the entry at the festival both at the main entrance and at the resistance entrance. The main stage area held most of the stages, however, if you wanted to go to the Resistance stage, you had to walk for about 20 minutes.

Photo by aLIVE Coverage

Transportation

There are a couple of ways of getting to the festival. Ultra offered free shuttles to ticket holders and also offered a ferry pass that you can pay for. No personal cars are allowed on the key without VIP passes.

The shuttles going from downtown to the venue were smooth. It’s a relatively quick drive, around 30-45 minutes average from getting on the shuttle to getting to the stage.

Going home on the first night was not smooth, to say the least. Festival-goers had to walk the bridge connecting the festival to downtown. The walk was around 3 miles, which is something you don’t want to do in the middle of the night after a festival.

However, it was the first year at this new location and Ultra did respond promptly by making sure days 2 and 3 were smooth rides getting back to downtown. The only issue on the last two nights was the communication with security at the exits. Better communication with security and notifying them where the festival-goers could catch a ride home after the show ended would have made the experience flawless. We have no doubt that Ultra will make these changes in 2020 if the festival stays at its current location.

Production and Stages

There were eight separate stages and two main sites that held the festival. There was some sound bleed between the smaller stages, Worldwide Stage and the Live Stage, but nothing extreme. The main stage had a couple of technical difficulties during the festival, with music shutting off in the middle of the set a couple of times.

If you have been to Ultra before, the stages were around the same size with few (if any) changes in scale.

Photo by Tingting Wu

Activities

Compared to other music festivals, Ultra focuses on the production and music the most. There were art installations that you can go check out at the Resistance Stage, and the view itself around the venue is amazing. We saw many attendees going to the park across the venue before going entering the fest. If you are looking to go on carnival rides, this is not the festival for you. If you want the hear the best set from your favorite artist? Come to Ultra.

Photo by Tingting Wu

Music

Marshmello, Carl Cox, The Chainsmokers, and Martin Garrix were the headliners for this year. Some special guests this year include Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, Shaq, and Rae Sremmurd. David Lee Roth came out during Armin Van Buuren’s set for his remix of Jump. The crowd was packed for the main stage during this guest appearance, to see two legendary artists coming together at one of the biggest EDM festivals in America (check out our interview here).

Nghtmre and Big Gigantic performed together at the Ultra Live stage. Deadmau5’s Cube 3.0 was also revealed at Ultra this year. This does not include all the top-notch sets from all your favorite artist for 2019. Artists bring their A-game for Ultra every year, often laying the groundwork for the entire upcoming festival season.

Overall

Ultra was worth the Friday night walk across the bridge. Ultra Miami 2019 was everything we expected from a festival at a brand new location. It was not “Fyre Fest 2” as some may have called it after the mayhem on the first night. We saw smiling faces everywhere, great music throughout the Virginia Key, eye-catching stages, and most of all, a beautiful location with a view.

If Ultra is at the Virginia Key again for 2020, we will be back! Ultra has confirmed the 2020 dates to be March 27-29. Mark it down on your calendar and start planning with your festival squad early!

Photo by Tingting Wu

Did you go to Ultra Miami? How was your experience? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

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