Miami-Dade County

Global, diverse crowd revels at Ultra

The crowd cheers for Miami-born Steve Aoki as he finishes his set on the Main Stage on day two of Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park on Saturday, March 28, 2015.
The crowd cheers for Miami-born Steve Aoki as he finishes his set on the Main Stage on day two of Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park on Saturday, March 28, 2015. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The hundreds of sun-kissed people draped in different flags resembled a World Cup event.

Many proudly represented their homelands Saturday by wearing their flags or its colors at the Ultra Music Festival. The patriotic attire of people from Canada, Ghana, Argentina, and Israel was among a cornucopia of style choices exhibited and a testament to one of the most-cited positives of Ultra.

“I like the environment,” said Juron Tucker, 20, with the flag of Bermuda hanging from his shoulders. “It’s diverse, and there’s something for everybody.”

After a soggy Friday evening that saw some stages temporarily closed, Ultra raged on Saturday for a more pleasant day of electronic dance music. It ends on Sunday.

The party revved up again at noon, and artists like Blasterjaxx, Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren and Gorgon City, among many others, took the stage amid cooler temperatures at Bayfront Park. Amid the music were moments emblematic of the philosophy many Ultra fans espouse — “PLUR” or peace, love, unity and respect.

Strangers introduced themselves as they danced, smiling, fist pumping and high-fiving. Some concertgoers met and traded neon-beaded bracelets, called “kandi,” when they met. The bracelets often had heartfelt, funny or Ultra-themed messages. After a handshake expressing the tenets of PLUR — forming peace signs, a heart symbol, locking hands and finishing with a hug — they slid the bracelets over each others’ wrists.

As far as security, the weekend has thus far gone smoothly. The Miami Police Department reported 23 arrests on the first day — 16 misdemeanors and 7 felonies, including possession of marijuana, possession of MDMA, disorderly intoxication and prostitution-related offenses.

Organizers upped security at the festival this year, including using stronger fencing, increasing police and emergency response presence, sending teams of festival ambassadors through the crowd to help anyone who needs assistance and hosting health professionals to talk about the use of illegal drugs.

As the throbbing bass rumbled throughout the park, many leisurely bobbed to the music while others jumped in the masses to dance.

Emily Salinas, 21, hoisted a large inflatable monkey as she bounced in the legion of fans. Later on, while sitting in a quieter spot, the Washington, D.C. resident explained the primate’s purpose.

“I brought it so friends watching the live stream can find me,” she said.

She also hopes she might appear in the review Ultra produces after the festival.

“Hopefully, we can make the after-movie.”

Follow @joeflech on Twitter for continuing coverage this weekend of Ultra Music Festival. The three-day festival ends Sunday.

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