After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the speakers began thumping at Bayfront Park Friday with the return of the annual Ultra Music Festival.
The outdoor electronic music festival will take place through Sunday with headliners including David Guetta, DJ Snake, Zeds Dead, Alesso, Carl Cox and more.
The festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
All Biscayne Boulevard northbound traffic will be rerouted to the southbound lanes at Southeast 1st Street to 4th Street. Biscayne Boulevard southbound traffic will be rerouted eastbound and westbound at Northeast 6th Street.
Biscayne Boulevard southbound is closed south of Northeast 6th Street. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday and will close at midnight. On Saturday, gates open at noon and close at midnight and on Sunday, gates open at noon and close at 10 p.m.
“The Miami vibe is something special here,” Dylan Kane said.
Festival goers have traveled across the country, even the world to enjoy the music.
“I’ve been waiting for this for two years,” festival goer Isabellaa Martell said.
People who live nearby will no doubt here the bass throughout the weekend.
“Seeing my favorite DJ’S, it’s just awesome. It’s just so exhilarating it’s such a great time,” Ellie Klein said.
Some traveled from across the country and other countries.
“I’m so excited. I came from Japan. We both came from Japan,” Keiko Yoshilka said.
The annual event draws thousands into the city with multiple stages, performers and stunning lights. Leah Tremblay traveled to Miami from Montreal to attend her first Ultra Music Festival. She joined her boyfriend Dylan, who flew in from Germany.
“The energy of everyone together with the music, I’ve been to concerts that have that vibe, but I just imagine this would be ten times more crazy,” Leah Tremblay said.
But with events like this, safety is high priority. Miami first responders are no stranger to festivals that attract thousands into the city.
“Anything that could potentially be needed, we’re sending those resources to Ultra,” Lt. Pete Sanchez, Miami Fire Rescue.
100 firefighters were deployed to Bayfront Park on Friday afternoon. Multiple engines, rescue trucks, ATVS, bicycles and life-saving medical equipment will stay on site all weekend.
“We have transport rescues that have firefighter paramedics on them, bike patrols where paramedics are riding bikes to get to difficult areas where it’s hard to access a patient,” Lt. Pete Sanchez, Miami Fire Rescue.
Miami Police have dozens of officers on the ground. They said they have a zero tolerance police for drugs or people trying to be disruptive at the event.
While there is no tolerance for drugs, with events like this it is hard to monitor every single moment.
Luis Garcia, a retired firefighter, goes to big events to hand out Narcan, which reverses an opioid overdose.
“Many people who enjoy dance music, electronic music, they ingest substances so they don’t know what’s in them. They’re thinking they’re taking ecstasy, methamphetamine, or cocaine,” Garcia said. “They may end up ingesting something laced with fentanyl and that’s why I’m here cause this will save their life.”
Organizers announced in May 2021 an agreement to settle tensions with the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, an association representing 13 downtown condominium towers who initially had sought to remove the event from Bayfront Park.
Festival organizers and residents found a balance between protecting local lifestyles and hosting large-scale music productions, Ultra spokesman Ray Martinez said. He suggested the event being canceled the past two years might have helped negotiations.
“Maybe the COVID pause gave both sides an opportunity to kind of take a breath, if you will, and come to the table without the impending event looming over either side,” Martinez said.
Ultra had been hosted in downtown Miami for nearly two decades until 2018. After that year's event, city commissioners voted not to renew the festival's contract following complaints from residents.
Ultra organizers moved the festival to Virginia Key in 2019, but logistical issues and sound complaints from new neighbors prompted organizers not to seek another year at that location.
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