Ultra Music Festival
Survival of the fittest; Ultra is a 3 day music festival which runs for around 12 hours with 50+ acts and multiple stages. This European summer festival will change your perception on how stadium gigs are run
Ultra Music Festival
Ultra Music Festival is a 3 day festival held in multiple locations around the world; Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Ultra brand also hosts a raft of various other festivals and includes a total of 34 Ultra Festivals around the world, so it's a pretty big deal.
Every year in July Split hosts Ultra Europe and the ports of split become infested with party goers and young travellers. Tickets for Ultra range from 159 Euros to 389 Euros for a 3 day ticket and more than 50 artists occupy 4 (or more) stages within the chosen stadium, music doesn't kick off until around 6pm and it doesn't stop for a modest 11 hours.
I attended Ultra in 2017 at Poljud Stadium in Split, Croatia. I stayed with a couple of guys I had originally met at Rhythm and Vines a couple of years prior and they had booked an apartment not far from the port in Split.
I'm going to be quite frank and say this was probably one of my least favourite music festivals if I take into consideration Tomorrowland and Sziget, my dislike for it didn't come from the artists, organisers or location but mainly because I'm not a fan of large stadium concerts where sitting down isn't an option unless you want to wade through layers of plastic cups and bottles. I was also awfully unprepared for the fact that the festival didn't finish until 5am and I was still recovering from a back injury caused at the gym, regardless it was a great experience with some amazing people and I would do it all again if I had the chance.
The line up for Ultra included:
Armin Van Buuren
Axwell and Ingrosso
and 47 more artists
I purchased the 3 day ticket but only went to two nights, I was absolutely ruined after the first night and no doubt my body would have doubled over if I didn't give myself a break, unlucky for me my back pain came back with a vengeance after night 1 and I retired myself to Croatian TV while the boys added another sleepless night to their memories.
Accommodation and Transport
Accommodation in Split is pretty easy to come across, there are plenty of hostels and apartments you can book and Uber is readily available. However both mornings we walked back from the stadium and as much as it felt like the longest walk of my life the morning glow hitting the ports made me forget for a moment how absolutely rancid I felt.
Checking In for the Cashless Festival.
In the days leading up to the festival you must attend the stadium to swap your ticket for you wrist band, this makes the entrance to the festival on the days much quicker and prevents any major queues on the day. Here you can also top up your wrist band with money, Ultra is a cashless festival so the only way to pay for drinks and food is through the chip in your wrist band.
Hygiene and Health
Toilets are usually located near any of the stairways and entrances and I never experience problems with queuing, however I can't remember how clean the toilets were so pack a hand sanitiser just to be sure. Bottles of water are easy enough to purchase, and I'm pretty sure that's the beverage that most people were going for. Unfortunately after a number of hours the ground became covered in plastic bottles and it was almost like wading through ankle deep water at one point.
Wear practical shoes and ones that you wont mind getting dirty, the crowd at the front of the stage can involve spillages from everything and anything you can think of.
Before the Festival
Pre loading is almost a summer sport in New Zealand where most people drink all they can at home before heading to their main event for the evening. Europe has a fantastic range of beers; from pints to cans and even 2 litre plastic bottles for around $4NZD so it's easy to purchase a number of these bottles and set yourself up for a few games of beer pong or stack cup. It's also a much cheaper option as no doubt any big event hike up the prices of alcohol.
Just like any big event the end is always a cluster fuck of people trying to get home, organise yourself with an EU Sim card and a meeting point outside the stadium for when you leave, it's not fun being disorientated from music, booze and sleep deprivation in a foreign country and having lost your friends.
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