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NUMBER 54 - MARCH 30, 2019
THE ULTRA FANS CAME BY THE THOUSANDS. FRESH, HAPPY, TAKING SELFIES AND POLITE, BUT AT THE END OF THE NIGHT WHAT HAD BEEN PREDICTED BECAME THE REALITY
They started arriving early. The first acts started at 2 PM, and the buses dropped the concert goers off in an orderly fashion along the length of the north side of the causeway where the Marine Stadium property sits, and once on the walkway, they walked to the the entrances.
As the afternoon wore on, the threat of rainy weather went away and it started getting hot as the volume concert goers kept increasing. All of them seemed happy, some starting to bounce and dancing to the music as they walked towards the entrance.
By 5 PM, the first signs of traffic congestion on the east bound lanes heading into Bey Biscayne became evident, and it only seemed to get worse as a lot of folks on the Key obviously wanted to get home after a day of work
By 7 PM, I regretted not bringing ear plugs. The competing sounds from stages facing each other across the parking made it impossible to pick out one particular music track to follow, and the competing bases tracks became a drum in my head.
I gave it up at dark, my flash wouldn't work, and figured that what happened when these folks started leaving in the middle of the night would be a lot different then when they arrived, and quite frankly, I figured that whatever did happen, their young bodies would handle it better than my old body.
First impressions aren't always the best, and while the orderly way in which the concert goers were bought onto the site was reassuring that the ULTRA folks had it under control, I knew, as everyone else did, or should have known that when the middle of the night arrived, and people were tired and cranky, getting off the island wouldn't be as easy as it was to get them on the island.
I was tod by an ULTRA representative during the afternoon that they had hired 280 buses, and that before the concert ended all of those buses would be lined up on in two of the three traffic lanes leading off of the causeway, ready to take folks out of there
That sounds impressive, until you do the math. 280 X 60 concert goers (and I'm being generous, because some of these buses have 45 - 50 seats,) comes to 16,800.
If in fact, anywhere near the expected 60,000 concert goers did show up, that meant that at best that less than a third of the folks would be able to get out by bus in the first run, and that was after you calculated the usual cluster fuck that goes with trying to manage that many people onto the right buses going to the same location where they got picked up, and doing it in a way that the buses at the front of the line are filled first so they can start leaving.
Thanks to videos posted on Twitter by Joey Flechas of the Herald, he showed people walking to the mainland, where many who were from out of town faced the additional obstacle of then trying to get UBER or LYFT or whoever to get back to their hotels, and he also retweeted videos from others that showed both the traffic problems and the fire that broke out.
2+ hrs of waiting for buses to pass by us either full or empty. I might not come back the second day even though i already paid for the ticket. Nobody on charge no barriers no nothing. Wow for my first #Ultra not looking at going next year #Ultra2019 #FyreFestival2 #shitshow pic.twitter.com/eIFjjSh0lG— Trevor Harz (@trevywankenobi) March 30, 2019
An added complication is the fire that broke out at the end of the night.
But these weren't the only problems on the first day.
WRISTBAND, WRISTBAND, WHO NEEDS A WRISTBAND
The numbers of tickets scalpers lined up along the way to the entrances was pretty interesting, as was the open way that some just stood out openly holding wristbands in their hands
There were some arrests, but clearly it appeared that there were organized groups involved in scalping these wristbands, and given the supposed protective measures that the ULTRA people claim that they employ over their tickets, you got to wonder how any of these guys got their hands on these wristbands, and actually, how many of them came from the 1000 a day wristbands that the City Commission allowed ULTRA to give away without their having to account for where they went, or to pay the ticket surcharge?
All of that was yesterday, and today is Day 2 of ULTRA.
You got to figure that Day 1 was always going to be the problem day, what with the new location and the untried process of getting folks on and off the Key, but added to that is a question of how bad was the fire, and how many people living in all the highrise condos along the Bay, who obviously did hear the sounds of ULTRA, started this morning off by calling The Boy Mayor and Commissioner "Sellout" Russell, and/or everybody they know at City Hall to bitch.
Don't take my word for it. Here's what Tom Falco, who publishes the Coconut Grove Grapevine posted at 4:00 AM.
The one sure thing that I think is happening this morning is that a lot of folks in Miami who might have thought that the folks who live downtown and were in large part responsible for ULTRA being moved from Bayfront Park because of the noise, now have a new appreciation for those folks waging the fight that they did.
It's Miami. Bitches!