UM students attending Ultra plan on avoiding Miami Beach during MMW

Ultra Music Festivals primary stage on Friday, 24, March 2023. Photo credit: Tim Shaw

This article was originally published on The Miami Hurricane website on (March 27, 2023).

Following multiple fatal shootings in Miami Beach, students at the University of Miami with tickets to Ultra, one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, plan to avoid the South Beach area during Miami Music Week (MMW).

Most students will not be attending Miami Music Week (MMW) events as the end of the semester approaches and workloads have increased.

“I barely even have time for Ultra.” Martin Chang, a second-year studying finance, said. “It’s more than enough music and dancing for the month, much less week.”

Two separate shootings on March 17 and 19, that left two people dead and large unruly crowds, prompted Miami Beach officials to implement a curfew for South Beach starting 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Sunday’s restriction was the third year in a row that city officials implemented a curfew during spring break.

Some students attribute the spring break violence to the out-of-state spring breakers, and are familiar with a relatively safe Miami Beach. In a similar fashion, the music festival is expected to attract many from outside the area.

“While I personally will not be going to any MMW events on the beach, I would advise those that are to be careful.” Kyle Araujo, a sophomore studying Exercise Physiology, said. “Miami Beach is still a somewhat safe place to go to during MMW, but I’m just going to avoid it.”

Music festival safety continues to be a concern for all rave-goers and concert fanatics. Those in attendance are aware of common safety practices such as traveling in groups and hydrating throughout the day.

“I attended Ultra last year and quickly learned that a large percentage of rave-goers are hyper aware of their surroundings and make sure that everyone around them is having a good time.” Chang said. “If someone looks unwell, sick, or in need of help, others in the crowd will not hesitate to do what is needed to help them.”

Even though the festival has a policy restricting the use of any illegal or illicit drugs, repeated cases of overdose and alcohol poisoning creates grounds for concern.

“While Ultra has grown to become one of Miami’s signature music events, we have experienced grave tragedies as a result of high-risk drinking and substance abuse, including the loss of a University of Miami senior student who died at the 2016 festival.” Dr Patricia Whitely, the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at UM, said in an email sent out to all students.

A list of common safety practices and resources that attendees should be aware of such as the SaferWatch App that reports emergencies directly to first responders, were also included in the email.

Most students going to Ultra have attended the festival before and are aware of the risks. Students like Chang and Araujo plan on taking measures to ensure that themselves and the people around them have an enjoyable and safe experience.

“I make sure that my friends and I are properly hydrated and we make it a point every few hours to eat and sit down to give our legs a break.” Chang said. “A camelpack is essential and the rehydration stations are awesome. Wearing shorts with zippers and keeping valuables to an absolute minimum is a must.”