Miami Ultra

~By:  Amanda

Sometimes the stars align, dates line up and days collide. While vacationing in Ibiza, stretched out in the sand with my Bloody Mary, I discovered that Miami Ultra would transpire the same weekend as my birthday next March. If you have read some of our past posts, the three of us definitely enjoy our share of house and trance music. For me it’s a true love. My soul marches to the beat and establishes me in my true spirit. It took approximately three minutes to convince the usual clan to go.

Music festivals are everything! For a multi-day festival you had better come armed and dangerous with a liver of steel and a small fortune in savings. Based on the line-up from the previous year, we knew per-purchasing the $350 three day ticket would be well worth it. Conveniently Miami Ultra sells tickets with a payment plan option. Therefore, if you don’t have tons of cash sitting in your savings you do not have to miss out. If you are looking for the most cost effective way to go, the earlier you purchase the ticket, the cheaper the cost. Don’t fear, if you are a last minute decision maker you can purchase tickets by the day through outside “retailers,” which is how most of our local Miami friends attended each day.

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The tickets arrived in a shiny box with all kinds of toys, about three weeks before d-day. If you ask me this was a little extra; just mail me the tickets. I do not need hot pink ear plugs or any for that matter, I was ready to hear every manner of sound these DJs would conjure. About a week before the show the time schedule was released on Ultra.com. Deciding who to see, when and where was one of the most difficult life decisions I have made to date. We booked a King room at the Hampton Inn Brickell; this was the most convenient location in our price range, giving us the ability to walk home. Miami is a gigantic sprawling city, so if you plan to stay further than a mile away or in South Beach, expect a challenge getting home at night. My motto is go with whatever is easy, so I will gladly pay $25 a night to make life simple.

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The festival itself was a shitshow, compared to any festival we had attended in Europe. It felt like a group of 5 year olds had planned the event. Arriving on Friday night we waited over an hour to enter the event, have the security staff check our bags and scan our tickets. I feel like Europeans could make millions on teaching classes to Americans on how to organize events. The port-a-potty situation was so insane; we all thought fondly back to the Flying Dutch festival in Amsterdam where there was only a 5 minute wait time for the toilet.

 

We parked ourselves at the main stage, where the line up was incredible. Arriving later than planned we were just in time to catch Armin van Buuren, who has achieved god status in my mind. We spent the rest of the night parked under a tree, slightly away from the crowd. By finding a home base in this area we were able to enjoy the music, without being suffocated by the huge crowd surrounding the stage. Also this convenient spot gave us the opportunity to make several amazing new friends. When I get the itch to be in the middle of everything, I’m always thankful for Julie, who will spend a few minutes deep in the crowd dancing with everyone!

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After the festival we headed back towards Brickell down S. Miami Ave, which was stacked with bars. Considering the state we were in we decided on the Fadó Irish pub and refreshed with cold beers. Perfect way to end the night. Everyone settled off to sleep….except ME. Someone (who shall remain nameless) in our group was sick and snored like a old Scottish man and I had been assigned to snuggle with her. I’m the lightest sleeper on the planet, so my solution was to grab a blanket and sleep in the closet. Do not judge me…. the door closed and blocked out the sound and I was fast asleep!

SATURDAY, before heading out we dropped by Coyo Taco on the corner for some tacos, breakfast of champions. The group goal of the day was to see Axwell ^ Ingrosso, the two remaining members of Swedish House Mafia. Having missed the opportunity to see the trio preform and living thought their podcasts, they were the essentially the missing piece of my life. The day was packed with Afrojack and Tiesto, amazing! As always, Tiesto opened his set with “Split,” and coincidentally Julie and I were right in the middle of the crowd at the main stage, jumping with everyone from the adrenaline. We kept our home-fort under the big tree with the neon orange decorations. As the afternoon changed to evening the sky opened up with a torrential down pour, many people ran under the various vendor tents to seek shelter from the rain. Thankfully our tree provided a decent amount of protection. I try to never let rain spoil my day, as you cannot control the weather. I even found an inflatable kangaroo to kiss. As the night closed we finally got to see Axwell ^ Ingrosso, they finished their set with “Sun is shining” as the clock passed into midnight and it became my birthday. As they finished their set, the whole crowd of old friends and new, erupted into “Happy Birthday”….best birthday moment ever!

After another closet “nap,” we headed to bay brunch. Wandering out in the far too bright Florida sun, we luckily ran into the Batch Gastropub right next to our hotel. They offered a weekend Brunch special with unlimited mimosas or Bellinis so we committed before even bothering to look at the food menu. However breakfast was delicious and it’s kinda hard to complain with bottomless fizzy drinks. Always a good idea to get one steady meal in our stomachs before heading out, I get so into the music I forget to eat. There is always this excitement/sorrow feeling when attending the last day of the festival. If I ever become a DJ (actually working on that) I wouldn’t want to close, because as amazing as your are, its still the end. Nobody wants to go home.

That didn’t stop us from enjoying every minute of that Sunday. My only regret is missing Showtek. Getting this many girls on my level of energy is incredibly difficult and no one was prepared to leave early enough to see the set. Remember what I said about finding a place and making it yours? We parked ourselves under that same tree again. At this point all of our friends from the past two days knew where to find us and we all settled down into our little village of happy. DJ Snake closed the night, maybe I was just sad Ultra was over, but I’m still trying to determine why he decided to close one of the biggest EDM festivals in the world with “The Middle.”

The saying goes, “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.” The next day I boarded my flight home with those little white apple headphones hanging from my ears the whole way– my playlists were my attempt to keep reliving the weekend. My Uber driver told me there was a continuous 24 hour after party at Space Night club still raging on, but not even I am that crazy. Everyone should attend a multi-day music festival once in their life; there are so many to choose from for every genre of music. So grab some friends, wave your freak flag and be ready for the weekend of a lifetime.

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Check out our other festival blogs

Way too Wanderlust Recommends

Miami Ultra:  www.ultramusicfestival.com/

Hampton Inn Brickell:  50  SW 12th Street, Miami FL 33130 www.hamptoninnmiamibrickell.com/

Fado Irish Pub:  Mary Brickell Village 900 South Miami Ave. Miami, FL 33130 fadoirishpub.com/miami/

Coyo Taco:  1111 SW 1st Ave Miami, FL 33130 www.coyotaco.com

Batch Gastropub:  30 SW 12th Street, Miami FL 33130 www.batchgastropub.com

From Miami to Ibiza

~By:  Amanda

Part of my soul is in Ibiza, it’s waiting at Usuhaia for me to return for it, hopefully next summer. Based on our love for electronic music we decided Ibiza was the the best choice to round out our Spain vacation. Electronic music lives in Ibiza. Every night one of the world’s top DJs is here spinning at the numerous clubs dotting the island.

Ibiza is located just off the coast of Spain in the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, about a 30 minute flight from Barcelona. After some research and tips from helpful British friends we learned that Playa d’en Bossa, located just east of Ibiza Town, was the best place to stay on the island. Furthermore we were informed that Jet Apartments is in the center of it all, recommended because of their daily pool parties. This is the ONLY reason to stay at Jet Apartments, for the price we paid we could have booked a hotel with a rooftop pool in Miami. However, location is location and high season is high season. The apartments are outdated and could use some maintenance and upgrading. For two days in July heat, our air con was kaput and the front desk provided little assistance in the matter. The maids are towel Nazis, however they cleaned properly and the room includes a mini kitchen. My final straw with this hotel was when we were told that even as hotel guests we were required to pay 15 euro to reserve a lawn chair by the pool. Never mind– the beach is just fine with me. A wrist band would remedy this situation, differentiating hotel guest from outsiders.

Bad accommodation aside, I still love Ibiza, the party girl inside me was ready to erupt full force. After unpacking and hitting up the convenience store, for beer and champagne and chips (essentials), we headed down to the pool area, where a DJ spins way into dusk. After a few cocktails we attempted to purchase tickets for Avicii, who was spinning at Usuhaia that evening. Unbeknownst to us, these shows typically begin around 9 pm. Living in NYC, I have never seen a DJ start before 11pm, usually not before 12-1 am. At this point, it was 8:30 pm, so that wasn’t going to happen.

With that plan scratched, we chilled on our balcony planning our next few days. Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike were performing a late night show at Amnesia and a few of our group opted to go see them. Being tired after a crazy previous night in Barcelona, I regretfully declined, as the show began at 3 am. The rest of us chilled on the beach, lounging in the sand, laughing at each other. We created our own party, complete with our personal EDM Spotify playlists, hooked up to speakers. Watching the flights from all over Europe approach Ibiza airport, we played with my new favorite app called Flight Radar 24. These are the moments you know you’re on vacation with true friends, because you can go anywhere and do anything and have the best night of your life.

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Late? I am never late! Ibiza flip flops who you are and brings out the best in you. With a boat party booked for 1:00 pm, mom (Anna) set a pick up time of 12:00 noon. Surprisingly, two of the most adult people in our group forgot to set an alarm. Waking up at 11:40, we snapped into action and got ready in 20 minutes, “Home Alone” style. We hopped into cabs and set off for Playa d’en Bossa pier.

Oceanbeat Ibiza Boat Party is an absolutely necessary addition to your Ibiza vacation! The three hour cruise is an insane boat party sailing around the Mediterranean with an amazing DJ. The flier totes unlimited beer, sangria and sparkling wine, but do not be fooled, you receive one glass of sparkling wine upon boarding. The sangria, beer and soft-drinks (soft drinks, why?) are bottomless. Half way through the fiesta the boat anchors giving everyone an opportunity to splash in the ocean. The front of the boat was equipped with a long driving board and the back has a small waterside. According to my friends I was the only girl who did a flip off the front of the boat, I guess those gymnastics lessons were good for something. For the next half an hour we floated and played in the water. It was the perfect time to haul out the go-pro dome and get those fancy action shots. Heading back to the pier, the DJs continued to keep the party going strong.

Because one party is never enough for a day, we headed back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for David Guetta. Usuhaia is by far the best concert venue I have ever been. Every night in the summer, they feature a different headlining DJ. The line-up for the week included not only David Guetta and Hardwell, (both shows which we attended), but also Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Martin Garrix and Avicii. For cost efficiency you can pre-purchase tickets online for about 40 euros, but this must be done weeks in advance, as pre-sale goes quickly. Once you are on the island, if you purchase tickets the day before the event, you can get roughly a 5 euro discount from the day of purchase price of 55 euro. We learned from the party planners that Usuhaia has a time restriction on noise, hence why shows begin at 9 pm, as it is also a ridiculously expensive hotel.

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Usuhaia has to be one of the best music venues in the world–it’s definitely MY favorite. The stage opens up to a large area flanked by hotel rooms on each side. If you are bougie and can afford it, several of the rooms actually overlook the stage. There are several wading pools scattered throughout the venue. I can not fathom a better way to watch a concert than dancing to the beat of the music with the cool water moving around your legs, twirling barefoot around each other. A word to the wise: I spent 55 euros on three beers and two bottles of water. Drinks here are exorbitant, everything on Ibiza is. A mojito, while really delicious, is 15 euros, so have a few drinks before you arrive.

Desperate to work on our tan, the next day was dedicated to beach time. Going with our traditional vacay breakfast of Bloody Maria’s in hand, we had ourselves a proper morning. Julie and I hauled real Bloody Mary mix and Tequila minis all the way from ‘Merica. We hadfr our Bloody Maria’s with all the fixings, including olives and pickles.

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Our plan for the night was to start off with our first proper sit-down meal as a complete group, since we arrived, because eventually everyone gets sick of sandwiches and chicken nuggets. El Limonero Ibiza is the number one restaurant on TripAdvisor in Playa d’en Bossa and somehow we managed to get a table here for 9 without a reservation, thanks Universe! Since Julie and I essentially have the exact same taste buds we paired off and ordered tapas to share. They were so delicious, I wish I was eating them now! The waitstaff treated us like family and finished off our dinner with a complementary round of limoncello.

After an amazing supper, it was Hardwell time! Heading back to Usuhaia, we parked ourselves back in the wading pool and waited for one of our favorite DJs to start spinning. Hardwell is so ingenious, he even incorporated a Dr Dre remix into his set. I still feel like it was one of the best remix tracks I have ever heard. Words can not explain what this music does to me. The beat travels though my veins and takes me over. I can’t help but move, as the notes climb to a peak my heart follows them into the sky.

With our adrenaline jumping from the performance, we decided our next stop was a paint party at Privilege. Anna had acquired a discount wristbands from some random person on the street, which is actually totally normal. In the mass confusion of Usuhaia letting out, we finally made it onto the city bus for 2 euro (the cheapest thing I did in Ibiza) and rode out to Privilege Nightclub, located inland in San Rafael. Arriving at the city bus drop-off point, we still had to walk down a curvy hill to the club. Without a sidewalk, we ventured down the road in a large group all headed in the same direction. Safety in numbers……probably not in Spain.

Inside the club was a giant dome with a stage set in the middle for the DJ and dancers. Waiting an hour for the party to start, we posted up to the bar and ordered more beers. I don’t know why Budweiser was the only beer option. I also didn’t realize anyone drank this disgusting liquid loaf of bread outside the USA. The concept of a paint party is pretty self explanatory: they spray-gun neon paint all over the crowd and the club is lit with black lights. The paint cannons are timed to spray with the swells of the music…..The set was well blended with EDM and old school Hip Hop, which created an amazingly diverse sound. The paint comes from all angles so attempting to not get paint in your eyes usually ended in an epic fail. Despite my outfit being ruined, all my euros gone and paint stinging my eyes, I didn’t ever want to leave. Finally in the wee hours of the morning we took a cab back to our hotel to shower, because our hair was now a solid. Word of advice: don’t wear any clothing you care about and ensure all your valuables are protected in a purse or plastic bag.

Out of bed early, way too early, we needed time to pack up before the noon checkout. Throwing our bags into luggage storage, we had 2 hours to kill before heading to the airport. A group breakfast with gallons of coffee revived us just enough to grab cabs to the airport. At the airport far earlier than we have ever been for a flight, we checked in and headed to the bar. That is perfectly acceptable at 2 pm. Somehow “Ratchet Air,” I mean Ryan Air, let us on the airplane with draft beers; I love people who don’t care! Flying away with my head on the tray table, I got a 45 minute nap before landing in Malaga.

Spending what I would have normally spent in 7-10 days in Southeast Asia, I still want to go back to Ibiza! Like right NOW! But, its cold and no one is there, so alas I will wait until next summer to go back and fetch the other half of my soul. Who knows, maybe I will leave it there again, just to ensure that I make another trip!

*Authors note: I listened to an entire Axwell^ Ingrosso set while writing this, because that is who I am ♥

Read about our other Spain adventures:

Way too Wanderlust Recommends:

Amnesia: Carretera Ibiza a San Antonio Km5, San Rafael, Ibiza +34 971 19 80 41 www.amnesia.es

Oceanbeat Ibiza Boat Party: Av. Pere Matutes Noguera 22, 07800 Ibiza +34 633 81 14 41 www.oceanbeat.es/boat-party-english

Usuhaia: Platja d’en Bossa 10, 07817 Sant Jordi de Ses Salines, Ibiza Spain http://www.usuhaiaibiza.com

El Limonero Ibiza: Calle Argelagues 15, 07817 Playa d’en Bossa Ibiza +34 618 72 21 111 www.limoneroibiza.com

Privilege Ibiza: Apartado de Correos 94, San Rafael Ibiza +34 971 19 81 60 www.privilegeibiza.com

Ryan Air: www.ryanair.com (because they let me bring beer)

References

Swedish House Mafia. “Miami to Ibiza.” Axwell, Steve Angello, Sebastion Ingrosso, and Patrick Okogwu. “Until One.” U.K. , Virgin, EMI and Astralwerks, 4 Oct 2010, digital download.

The Flying Dutch

~By:  Amanda

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When consulting weather.com with the forecast for Amsterdam, just assume the exact opposite. While rain and cold threatened our perfect day, ultimately one could not have asked for a more  perfect sunny day. The concept is genius: ten of the most popular Dutch DJs spinning an invigorating one hour set each, across three cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Einhoven). A special Flying Dutch helicopter transports each performer in between the three cities for each set. I must give all due credit to our wonderful Flemish friend Sandra for alerting us about this incredible festival in its second year.

Growing up in the United States, one comes to expect a certain amount of chaos associated with a festival or any large event. The disorganization from the beginning to the sideshow which is inevitable  to follow is a characteristic of any event hosted by the red, white and blue.

image1Upon arrival at the Flying Dutch  we were delighted to find neat lines as everyone queued politely to have their tickets scanned and bags searched for contraband. Once inside I highly recommend purchasing a locker, a medium sized locker only cost us 7 euro or 8 USD and stowed five girls’ sweaters and accessories with room to spare. The lockers are controlled by a pass-code which conveniently allows anyone in your party to access them. All transactions inside the festival are controlled by tokens, one can pre-purchase tokens online in advance or inside the festival using cash or card. Each member of my group purchased 50 euro worth of tokens, this supplied us with  currency for beer, food and water for the remainder of the day. While I did not personally partake in the festival food, it did look amazing and far surpassed the typical soggy hot dog or dried out pizza.

The festival is a straight-up stadium house; it’s big, it’s loud, and the giant speakers placed everywhere boomed as each amazing DJ spun a heart-pounding series of peeks and valleys which kept us dancing for hours. Our 2016 line up included

image4As we joined the Amsterdam crowd, I will never forget the reverberations as we walked down into the stadium at exactly 3pm, listening to Tiesto performing Split (Only U). I was so thoroughly impressed with each artist’s set, that I still listen to them periodically on the global-sets.com pod casts. We all wished the night could have continued forever as Armin van Burren ended the festival on such a phenomenal high note that it left everyone’s hearts wanting more.

Port-a-potties: who likes them?? Nobody; have you ever found a clean one?? Apparently this exists in the Netherlands! They had more than enough for the crowd and the wait on average was less than five minutes… what a concept! The only thing I could speak ill about the logistics of this festival is that they ran out of bottled water, first inside the Stadium and then the entire festival. With temperatures reaching over 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) and everyone dancing and drinking alcohol, it is necessary to have excessive water on supply.  Next year I plan to tote a collapsible refillable water pouch which can be refilled, because Dutch water does not contain hepatitis. And with that we left the festival full of inspiration, happiness and a great tan.

image5So how do your find tickets for next year, you must know? If you love EDM and enjoy a wonderful day in amazing company this festival is one to mark on your calendar. The line up alone is outstanding. The festival dates typically fall over an early weekend in June, for 2017 on June 3. Late to the party, as always, our group found out about the festival after tickets were already sold out, but we were still able to purchase 5 tickets for our group of girls a few weeks before the festival using the app TicketSwap. You can follow the Flying Dutch at theflyingdutch.tv or download the app, to receive alerts and check out this years epic highlights. Hope to see you there next year!!!!

More to see in Amsterdam

Way too Wanderlust Reccommends