Ultra weekend is almost upon us. In a few days, thousands of people will descend upon downtown Miami to enjoy a wild weekend with their friends and some of their favorite DJs.
Though the fate of Ultra in downtown Miami was endangered last year when moves were made to ban the popular music festival, the city decided to keep it – a decision no doubt largely influenced by the revenue the three-day concert generates. Despite the city’s decision to keep the festival and the organization’s assurances of safety, this event still possesses dangers characteristic of large-scale festivals that attendees should be wary of.
The increased accessibility of drugs is a major danger.
Beneath the superficial scene of electronic music lies a widespread drug culture that attracts many. Taking advantage of the concentration of young people, dealers may advertise that they are selling festival-goers one thing, when, in actuality, no one actually knows what they are ingesting.
If you do not know what you are taking, you cannot properly prepare for side effects that could possibly be fatal. Last year, 21-year-old attendee Adonis Escoto died of a drug overdose at the festival, according to a Miami New Times story published March 2014.
Beyond health concerns, general personal safety is at risk. In an environment where you are likely to encounter intoxicated people or large crowds, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.
While security has been a stated priority of the festival, accidents and crimes still occur. A security guard was trampled by gatecrashers last March, resulting in a fractured skull and a broken leg. Traveling in groups and pairs would be a good precaution for those who do choose to go to Ultra.
At Ultra, like any other large-scale gathering, things also have a way of getting lost or stolen. We all love our personal belongings, so we have to be mindful of protecting them to the best of our ability. With a crowd of more than 100,000 people, if your phone or other property gets stolen, the chances of recovery are slim to none.
In addition, for UM students, transportation can be a nightmare. Typically, people take the Metrorail downtown to save money.
However, as we know, Miami’s transit is unreliable at best. What was a simple solution can become a hassle, especially when the Metrorail stops running at midnight. Students may find themselves turning to ride-sharing services and taxis for safe transportation home, and these solutions can easily turn into costly expenses, particularly with the likely implementation of “rush” rates.
Ultra has its fans, and most people feel that the rewards outweigh the costs. But there are less expensive and safer options for this weekend in case you decide to think twice and consider the dangers of Ultra before going.
UM often hosts on-campus events during Ultra weekend to encourage students to stay on campus. There is also all of Miami to explore during Miami Music Week for true electronic music enthusiasts. For those who still decide to brave the craziness, be vigilant, and good luck.
Taylor Duckett is a senior majoring in business law.