MIAMI – Miami is preparing to welcome about 170,000 electronic dance music fans from around the world in just two days for a festival that organizers say will have a nearly $200 million economic impact in the area.
It will also affect Downtown Miami traffic amid spring break, a Miami Heat game on Saturday at the arena, and on a busy weekend for neighboring PortMiami.
Police officers will close a section of Biscayne Boulevard at 9 p.m., Thursday. They will reroute the southbound traffic at Northeast Sixth Street and the northbound traffic at Southeast First Street.
“That’s people coming to town ... staying at the hotels, going to the restaurants, renting cars ... going to other clubs and destinations after,” said Ray Martinez, of Event Entertainment Group, about the estimated economic impact.
The three-day Ultra Music Festival starts at 4 p.m., on Friday, at Bayfront Park, where EDM DJs will perform simultaneously in seven glowing outdoor areas around the 32-acre public space.
UMF Miami — with a lineup of headliners that includes Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, Alesso, Carl Cox, David Guetta, Marshmello, and Tiësto — is set to close at midnight, Friday; reopen from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday; and again from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., on Sunday.
Police officers asked drivers to expect heavy traffic during the festival along Northeast Second Avenue and North Miami Avenue and before the after-parties in Miami and Miami Beach.
Police officers and Fire Rescue personnel are also preparing to deal with incidents related to drug use and trafficking, dehydration, and theft. Last year, thieves’ most common target was iPhones.
“We will have plenty of officers at hand and that includes undercover officers inside,” said Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales during a news conference Wednesday.
The EDM fans who will be staying in Miami Beach will have to shop in liquor stores before 6 p.m. and after 6 a.m., after city commissioners voted in favor of a curfew on store alcohol sales.
UMF organizers sold out of the nearly $1,500 three-day VIP tickets, and the $750 PGA tickets. There were still some three-day general admission tickets for about $400 on Wednesday that were to go up to about $450.
Ticket holders will be allowed to carry small clear bags and hydration packs without pockets.
At the gates, UMF security will be checking for weapons, drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, flammable items, or opened packs of cigarettes, over-the-counter medication, or eye drops.
UMF organizers also prohibit umbrellas, food, beverages, canteens, flasks, coolers, chairs, blankets, sleeping bags or tents, or opened packs of tampons.
The list of banned fashionable items includes backpacks, purses, large chains, chained wallets, or spiked jewelry. The list of accessories prohibited also includes pacifiers and stuffed animals.
Party animals also need to avoid bringing balloons, confetti, streamers, loose glitter, musical instruments, noisemakers, air horns, glow sticks, laser pens, laser pointers, or similar focused light devices.
Artists will have to leave behind their pens, spray paint, and markers. Toy lovers won’t be allowed to bring water guns, squirt guns, spray bottles, misters, balls, inflatable balls, frisbees, or flying disks.
UMF organizers prohibit drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, professional cameras, flash cameras or video and audio recording equipment, or camera poles. They also prohibit bicycles, skateboards, hoverboards, scooters, and personal motorized vehicles.
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Some of the festival’s highlights
British women to rule the Live Stage on Saturday
Becky Hill (Rebecca Claire Hill) is set to perform at 6:30 p.m., and M.I.A. (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) is set to perform at 11 p.m.
Dutch DJs to dominate Main Stage on Friday and Saturday
- Armin van Buuren is set to perform at 8 p.m. and at 10 p.m., Friday, at the Worldwide Stage. He will perform again at 6:25 p.m., Saturday, on the Main Stage.
- Hardwell (Robbert van de Corput) is set to perform at 8:45 p.m., on Saturday, at the Main Stage.
- Martin Garrix is set to perform at 10:45 p.m., Friday, at the Main Stage.
Americans and Canadians
- Gryffin (Dan Griffith) is set to perform at 7:20 p.m., Friday at the Main Stage.
- Grimes (Claire Elise Boucher) is set to perform at 8 p.m., Friday, at the Live Stage.
Watch the 12 p.m. report
Watch the 6 p.m. report