Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bayfront Park almost ready for Ultra Music Festival

Christine Vazquez, Troy Blevins/Local 10

Workers have nearly completed Ultra Music Festival's impressive concert stages featuring digital screens and hundreds of motion lights. Organizers said they've employed about 1,000 people to work just about every day over three weeks to get Bayfront Park ready for the largest outdoor electronic music festival of its kind.

Traffic pattern changes in downtown begin Thursday night and the festival starts Friday. It is nearly sold out: A three-day pass with a service fee will cost $490, according to the festival's website. Organizers said they average about 55,000 ticket holders a day.

Ultra Music Festival may now be in nine different countries, but Miami remains a big draw for international electronic music fans, primarily because of the South Florida climate.

Nikita Vladimirov told Local 10 he traveled to Miami from Russia just to attend the festival known for featuring the world's premiere DJs and electronic music artists. "I come from Siberia and the weather is like, minus-36 Celsius, so perfect time to travel," said Vladimirov.

The Intercontinental Hotel has a front-row seat to the action. The hotel's director of sales and marketing, Mike Kovensky, said they are nearly sold out. Rooms run $494 a night with three to four guests often splitting a room during Ultra Music Festival. Kovensky said Ultra is "good for business, very good for business."

Over the years they have learned Ultra guests are big on room service. They are responding by extending the hours of the Starbucks located in the hotel's lobby to 24 hours. They have also found that guests during the music festival weekend tend to have "late night inquiries as far as beverages" and want a variety of food options at 5 in the morning.

Down the street from the Intercontinental, Rick Santos, of All American Barricades, and his crew began the process of setting out more than 3,000 French barricades. Santos said they will be at work for hours. "We got to make sure it comes out just right," said Santos.

The initial traffic pattern change and set up will happen starting Thursday at 9 p.m. The reroute will be as follows; all southbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard will be detoured west at NE Fourth Street, to NE Second Avenue and continue southbound on NE Second Avenue. All northbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard will be reduced to two lanes and shifted to the southbound lanes at SE First Street. It will continue northbound until NE Fourth Street, where it will be shifted back to the regular northbound lanes.

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Friday, March 28
Ultra Music Festival gates open at 4 p.m. until 12 a.m.

Saturday, March 29
Ultra Music Festival gates open at 12 p.m. until 12 a.m.

Sunday, March 30
Ultra Music Festival gates open at 12 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Miami police officers will be assigned throughout the area to assist with traffic control. There will be no street closures. Miami police officers will be deployed along the route to assist motorists.
"I'm going out of town for the music festival because I don't want to deal with it," said downtown dweller Dan Maslow.

As soon as Maslow moved to his downtown apartment from Minneapolis, he said others in the area warned him about the anticipated crowd and traffic congestion.

"I decided to take a week off and go to Mexico. I leave tomorrow," Maslow said. Once he gets there he'll have plenty of spending cash. Maslow found a concertgoer willing to sublet his apartment for the festival weekend. "Three days and he's giving me two grand," he said.

Miami police told Local 10 festival-goers should govern themselves accordingly because the department plans to staff the three-day event with undercover officers. There will also be plenty of patrol officers on the streets to help direct traffic. Below is the information provided to Local 10 by police in a news release:

The Ultra Music Festival will take place March 28-30 at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

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