Just when you thought you could rest up after Spring Break, Winter Music Conference decided to descend upon Miami the very next week. Considering its international reputation as the gathering week of every big name in electronic music’s production and promotion, it will mark one of the craziest times in Miami this year (second only to Super Bowl weekend).
From March 20-25, big name DJs and producers will occupy Downtown and South Beach, offering an entire week of frenzied parties, culminating with the climatic Ultra Music Festival as the closing event. In order to maximize the party-going experience, EDGE has put together this guide to help you get the most out of the week.
WMC-It helps to know people. Miami will be bursting at its seams with revelers anxious to see their favorite DJ spin at their favorite club-and that’s not even keeping tourists in mind. No connections? Most specific events have advance tickets for sale, almost always cheaper than paying at the door, which can run upwards of $60 for certain events.
Ultra-Your only way in is a ticket. Two-day tickets are going for just under $119.90 at print time, while Friday and Saturday tickets are $59.95 and $74.95, respectively (not including tax). You can order them online, but if you want to save money on shipping and online service fees, you can pick them up at several outlets throughout South Florida. Ultra is open to all ages.
WMC-Dress to impress. WMC brings out the South Beach crowd in full force, and they’re finely dressed, down to the last stitches. As might be expected, casual dress such as T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are strictly verboten. As a guideline, think of how you normally dress to go out to a club, then work up from there.
Ultra-Anything goes. People will dress weird, extravagant, simple, with glow gear, as animals or almost naked. Most dress as they normally do everyday. As it’s an outdoor festival, what you wear will be very dependent on the weather, although as a general rule, wear clothing that’s either loose, breathes well, or is easily removable-always comfortable.
WMC-Think parking is hard on South Beach on any given Saturday night? Now you’ll be competing with not only locals who come out specifically for the events, but thousands of tourists who fly to Miami for the same reason. Get to your party early, or hail a cab.
Ultra-Parking for Ultra is just as impossible as it is during WMC. Don’t let Downtown’s larger area fool you-over 40,000 people attended Ultra last year. Students on campus should take the Metrorail to the Government Center station, then the Metromover to the 11th Street or Bicentennial Park station and walk towards the American Airlines Arena.
WMC-Arrive early, ideally at the time the event is slated to start. Don’t worry about being first in line, as someone will have beat you to it. Even if you’re on a guest list, remember you’re vying against a much larger crowd for the bouncer’s attention. And don’t forget parking. For a WMC event, leave an hour before you usually do.
Ultra-Here, you have more leverage, especially on the second day, which runs much longer. Unless you plan to stay the entire festival’s length, take note of when you’d like to arrive, then add around an hour to allow for traffic and parking.
Just enjoy yourself! The lines will be long and the drinks will be ridiculously overpriced, but if you’re into the music you came to see, none of that will even matter. Just follow common sense: don’t spend too much, don’t lose your crowd, and keep an eye on your drink. And remember: always drive safely.
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Jay Rooney may be contacted at email@example.com.