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Guide To Music Festivals: Ultra

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One of the most iconic parts of attending college is going to concerts. From glow stick washed raves to boot-stomping barn dances, musical gatherings offer all college students the chance to get out and enjoy the things they do best: drinking, boning and partying. Now since your time in college is short (4 years if you’re normal, 5 if you’re smart and 6 if you’re a legend), you need to hit as many musical Meccas as you can. Since everyone has different tastes, we’ll try to include a large variation in the type of celebrations we review, starting off with one that happens this month: Ultra.

What it is:

Founded in 1999, the Ultra Music festival is an annual celebration of electric dance music that takes place at Bayfront Park, in the heart of Miami, Florida. It draws some of the biggest DJs in the business and promises three days of star-powered insanity.

The Good:

If you consider yourself a fan of EDM, Ultra can provide you with an experience you won’t forget. Whether your flavor is house, trap or trance, the DJs at Ultra will make sure you’re taken care of ten-fold. The location is fantastic, if you’re looking for somewhere warm to escape to for spring break, sunny south Florida is the perfect backdrop for you to party your ass off. Miami’s gorgeous beach is right next to the event and offers sandy solace to anyone that needs a break from the fist-pumping madness. In addition to the locale, the talent Ultra draws is premium grade. Knife Party, Afrojack, deadmau5, Tiesto, Hardwell, Avicii, Pretty Lights and Fedde Le Grand are just some of the recognizable names in the EDM industry that have launched sets from Ultra’s well-crafted stage. The high caliber production values on the visual effects for which Ultra is famous for supply even the sober viewer with an engrossing light show that compliments the talent of the artist.

The Bad:

Miami is hot as fuck, and every year a percentage of the 150,000+ in attendance come down with serious cases of heat stroke. Add the blazing sun in with the a good chunk of the population rolling face and you get an effective cocktail that results in injury. If you decide to go, have enough hydration packs that if you need to get a fat guy through the Sahara, you would have a good chance of hitting the halfway point before he passes out. Also, bring sunscreen. Unless you’re extremely partial to Melanoma, you will not regret overstocking on SPF 30.

The Logistics:

Ultra is an expensive event, the $300 to $500 general admission ticket is not bad in a vacuum, but Miami is an expensive city. Food and lodging will set you back a pretty penny and if you need plane tickets on top of that, prepare for your bank account to take some damage. Also the lines for everything are unbelievably long. 150,000 people packed into a smaller area will make that happen, and somehow, the city never seems to realize closing more roads into the event will make everyone’s lives a lot easier. It’s not so bad, though, because the wait gives you time to shit on the VIP people walking past you and cram the rest of that pot brownie down your throat before entering the event. You are also unable to carry anything into the event that doesn’t fit into a small, see-through backpack. That means no purses or man-purses (it’s not a satchel, you pansy ass bitch). The organizers have also recently banned laser pointers, finger gloves and the like. So if you’re looking for a rave setting, it will be tough to make that happen.

The Ridiculous:

Ultra has a well-earned reputation for being an exercise in raucous destruction. As with any EDM event, neon and costumes are present in abundance. However, Ultra seems to draw more outfits than almost any other techno event in the country. If you have ever wondered what seeing Mario and Luigi sucking on edible pacifiers while Sub-Zero gets a sloppy handjob from a bikini clad girl looks like, Ultra can certainly satisfy your curiosity. The warmer setting also allows for a large degree of semi-nudity. Girls in thongs and pasties are extremely common, adding another distraction from standing in line for hours at a time. While the event organizers have recently cracked down on drug use at Ultra following the extremely unfortunate overdoses of a few concertgoers over the past years, Ecstasy is still a second currency. If you saw the video from a few years ago of a girl going through seven relationship stages with a tree, you’ll be relieved to know that the video in question is from Ultra. I attempted to reach out to both subjects of said video, but only got a response from the tree: they are no longer together because she cheated on it with an Oak. I asked why and the only answer I received was “bigger trunk.”

The Verdict:

While the oft-heard criticism that the Ultra line-up is too “mainstream” holds a level of legitimacy, the festival is still a good time. It is a rite of passage for EDM fans to attend Ultra at some point in their lives, a necessary pilgrimage to one of the capitals of electronic music. I will admit, however, that I have a personal bias toward the festival. I was lucky enough to be in the crowd when Swedish House Mafia played their last show at Ultra in 2013 and even though I was blitzed within an inch of death, it is a memory I will always treasure. So if you’re an EDM fan interested in a kick-ass three-day festival punctuated by solid DJs, naked girls and tons of sunscreen, the dates of this year’s celebration are March 18, 19 and 20. Load your crew up and go.

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Wooden hulled, three masted heavy frigate. Named by President George Washington.

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