MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you’re heading to downtown Miami this weekend, be prepared for a wild party as the 16th annual Ultra Music Festival will take over the area.
The festival runs Friday through Sunday and is one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world. The final sound checks will be held throughout the day Friday and everything is scheduled to kick off around 4 p.m.
Crews have been working most of the week to put the finishing touches on the stages and lights Thursday afternoon and people from all over the world have already arrived.
“It’s my first time,” said Barbara Quintanilla. “I’m super, super excited and all the way from Houston.”
Quintanilla and her boyfriend, James Carroll arrived from Texas Thursday. Their trip wasn’t cheap.
“I lost count somewhere in the several thousands,” said Carroll.
According to Ultra organizers the weekend brings about $79 million into South Florida’s economy as 50 to 60 thousand people are expected each day of the three-day event.
While tickets are still available, they will set you back $399 plus a $90 service fee. But tickets are selling out rapidly with the Ultra Music Festival website saying tickets are 99 percent sold out as of Friday morning.
Undercover Miami police officers will be amongst the crowds to make sure everyone is following the rules.
Also there to help, if-needed, the Miami Fire Rescue will have about 60 firefighter paramedics working the event. They will be driving around in new vehicles the department designed and built in order to easily navigate crowds. The vehicles are equipped with first-aid care, similar to an ambulance, and they can transport patients if necessary.
As of Friday evening, according to Miami Fire Rescue, there were 40 rescue calls Friday and 11 people were taken to the hospital including a security guard who fell backward and hit her head when people rushed the fence.
For those who live downtown or plan on spending any time there over the weekend, travel will be almost non-existent. Road closures started Thursday night and will extend through the weekend.
Here are some of the traffic closures to watch out for this weekend:
- Southbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard will be detoured west at NE 4th Street to NE 2nd Avenue.
- Drivers will then use NE 2nd Avenue to get where they are going.
- Northbound Biscayne Boulevard drivers will experience lane closures and a shift to the southbound lanes at Southeast 1st Street.
- Northbound traffic will then continue north in the southbound lanes to NE 4th Street where it will be re-directed back into the regular northbound lanes.
If you don’t plan on going to Ultra, you might want to avoid the area due to the noise, blocked roads and crowds.
Due to the congestion of downtown Miami and the difficulty in finding parking, attendees have been told to getting there by car is not the best option. They’ve been urged to use Metrorail and MetroMover.
Tri-Rail has announced that it will extend train service every night during the festival. The special train will leave the Metrorail Transfer Station at 1:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and at 1:00 a.m. on Monday. The entire schedule can be viewed at tri-rail.com. Friday one-way fares are between $2.50 and $6.90 and weekend fares are just $5 all day.
This year’s Ultra Music Festival will feature three fully operational water refill stations, where water containers can be filled for free at any time. These locations will be clearly marked on the site map and within the festival’s mobile app. Bottled water will still be widely available for those that prefer that option.