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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s the weekend that some people have been looking forward to and others have been dreading.
The Ultra Music Festival kicked off Friday but instead of heading to Bayfront Park, thousands of people descended on Virginia Key.
This year, no parking was allowed at or near the venue. Many took taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts. Others opted for one of 230+ free shuttle buses that went back and forth from three pickup, drop off points.
“We we’re discussing thing, [thinking] oh it’s going to be a hassle on the bus coming back”, said another festival goer. “It was nice. There was music and we sat and talked.”
Almost everyone agreed that regardless of venue, they had a grand time.
The city spent millions of dollars to make the new venue happen. That includes studies on everything from the noise level to how it will affect homes and residents all the way into Brickell.
“I could hear it from my office in Brickell yesterday, inside the building, I’m on the 25th floor,” said Alonso who also lives on Key Biscayne. “Nobody’s pleased with it and I’m one of the ones who’s a supporter of Ultra, just not here,” he said.
“Honestly I really don’t think the city took into account that we only have one entrance and one exit and everyone has to hibernate for the weekend here,” said Virginia Key resident Gus Alonso.
There are fences to cut off access to beach areas to protects sensitive wetlands and marine life.
This year plastic straws are banned and there’s no parking at the event. The city is hoping some 230 buses they’re using will make traffic more manageable, meantime the mayor says there will be a huge law enforcement presence.
“There are going to be 500 police officers here on site. To put that number in context, our entire patrolling police force of the city is less than 500 people and that’s in three different shifts,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
This is the 21st year of the biggest electronic dance music festival in the country. Organizers say the new venue will permit an extended operating time until 2 a.m. They say fans will experience in-tandem staging at both Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium.
Tickets for the event run from $399 for general admission for the three days to $1,499.95 for a VIP ticket.
More than 150,000 people expected to flood the island over the 3-day weekend.
If you are going, here is what you will be allowed to bring:
Hydration packs that are not backpacks (empty upon entry)
Bags made of clear plastic, clear vinyl, or clear PVC (not exceeding 13”x17”)
One-gallon clear, plastic zip-top bag
Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap is allowed
Sunglasses and hats
Illuminated or glowing jewelry or costumes
Sealed packs of cigarettes upon entry
Action cameras, such as GoPro’s
Regarding action cameras – yes to strap headwear or non-extendable handles
Flags and banners (no corporate or company branding; no hard poles)
Feminine products (sealed upon entry)
Prescription medication (you must have the prescription/label in your name with you)
No illegal or illicit substances, drugs, or drug paraphernalia
No weapons of any kind including, but not limited to, pocket knives and self-defense sprays
No flammable items or liquids including aerosols and fireworks
No markers, pens or spray paint
No backpacks, purses, or bags allowed except bags made of clear plastic, clear vinyl, or clear PVC not exceeding 13”x17”
No stuffed animals
No facial masks
No outside food or beverage including alcohol
No bottles, cans, canteens, flasks, or coolers
No opened over-the-counter medication or eye drops
No opened packs of cigarettes or tampons
No pacifiers or glow sticks
No balloons, balls, inflatable balls, frisbees or flying disks
No umbrellas, chairs, blankets, sleeping bags or tents
No bicycles, skateboards, hover-boards, scooters, or personal motorized vehicles
No drones or unmanned aerial vehicles
No animals except for service animals assisting an individual with a disability. “Comfort,” “therapy” or “emotional support” animals do not meet the definition of a service animal and are not permitted entry to the Event.
No large chains, chained wallets or spiked jewelry
No laser pens, laser pointers, or similar focused light devices
No water guns, squirt guns, spray bottles or misters
No musical instruments, noisemakers or air horns
No professional cameras, flash cameras or video and audio recording equipment, or camera poles
No poles, sticks, or “totems”
No confetti, streamers or loose glitter (wearable cosmetics are acceptable)
Additional items may be prohibited at the discretion of law enforcement or security officials.
Click here for more information about the event.