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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For the 19th year in a row, the Ultra Music Festival will welcome some of the world’s most renowned electronic dance music artists all under one roof at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
“We have multiple stages,” said Ray Martinez, the event’s security chief. “I believe there’s eight stages going over the 31 hours of the weekend, so there’s a couple hundred different artists that perform over the weekend.”
They’ll be performing for hundreds of thousands of party-goers.
“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.
“Every year we learn what to do different, we learn what to do better,” said Miami Police Lt. Freddie Cruz. “We’ve seen some incidents in the past. But every year, it seems to be getting better.”
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 Martinez. “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 says it’s 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 says its goal 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 initial traffic pattern change and set-up will happen Thursday at 9 p.m. The reroute will be as follows: Southbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard will be 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 will be reduced to two lanes, and shifted to the southbound lanes at S.E. 1st Street. It will continue northbound until N.E. 4th Street, where it will be shifted back to the regular northbound lanes.
Miami Police officers will be assigned throughout the area to assist with traffic control. There will not be any street closures.
Uber will also offer a transportation hub called the Uber Ultra Lounge.
The Uber Ultra Lounge will provide 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.