MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Ultra Music Festival is back in Miami for its 19th year, showcasing the world’s biggest EDM artists and also bringing quite a bit of traffic to the area.
More than 50,000 people a day pack Bayfront Park each year to dance and take in the light shows.
The event brings in millions of dollars of revenue to Miami each March, including a big boost for hotels, which typically fill to 98 percent capacity during the festival.
“We have about 165,000 attendees over three days,” said Ultra’s Media & Marketing Manager Albert Berdellans. “Obviously that brings a lot of activity in the downtown area but it also brings issues.”
One of the biggest issues is traffic and crowd control. To handle the extra amount of people in the area, Ultra has partnered up with City of Miami Police, City of Miami Fire Rescue and other government agencies.
Back in 2014, some city officials called for the end of the music festival due to a trampling incident involving a security guard trying to stop people who didn’t have tickets. Ultra officials say they have since reinforced the fencing around the event.
“You see the fencing that’s gone up over the past couple of days,” said Ray Martinez, the event’s security chief. “We were able to partner with Formula E racing and utilize their racetrack, which encompasses the perimeter of our event here. That’s really a made huge difference in the security of the perimeter.”
There were also issues of drug overdoses.
The festival has taken a number of security measures for the safety of those attending the event, including implementing an 18 and over requirement, not allowing backpacks and also placing amnesty boxes.
“Last year, believe it or not, when I would check the boxes, they were pretty full,” said Martinez. “We had a lot of people depositing some illegal drugs, alcohol, contraband.”
The festival’s goal, they say, is to have more of a positive impact than a negative one, and with more than 30 percent of ticket sales being made by people outside of the United States, an economic impact to the greater Miami area.
“Our economic impact has been measured,” said Berdellans. “The last time it was measured was in 2013. Our economic impact was a little over $223 million dollars.”
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Miami Police said there will be a number of detours in the area. Officials recommend the Metrorail and Metromover as the ideal mode of transportation.
The traffic pattern change and set-up began Thursday evening.
Traffic has been rerouted as follows: Southbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard is detoured west at N.E. 4th Street, to N.E. 2nd Avenue, and continue southbound on N.E. 2nd Avenue. All northbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard is reduced to two lanes, and shifted to the southbound lanes at S.E. 1st Street. It continues northbound until N.E. 4th Street, where it’s been shifted back to the regular northbound lanes.
Miami Police officers have been assigned throughout the area to assist with traffic control. There will not be any street closures.
Uber is also offering a transportation hub called the Uber Ultra Lounge.
The Uber Ultra Lounge provides an exclusive drop off and pick up location for Ultra attendees, helping them get to and from the event safe and sound. The drop-off and pickup location is located at the corner of Biscayne Blvd. and NE 6th Street. The Lounge is open on Friday from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Since dancin’ up a storm can take its toll, event organizers are providing free water at multiple water stations at and during the festival.
Event organizers are also asking those who go to pace themselves. Many attendees think they will have the energy to dance all day at the event and go to after parties each night. Only a tiny percentage of people do this. They say not to leave yourself too tired to enjoy the event on the second and third days.
Finally, those going should remember that they won’t be able to re-enter the event. If you enter and then leave, you will not able to enter again until the following day.