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Let’s start by at least trying to ignore the fact that it took me 26 years to finally catch the rave (t’hehe) of a music festival.
You hear about these things, you see your friends upload photos at them, but you never really picture yourself actually attending one. At least I never did.
But all that changed thanks to an incredible opportunity to experience my first music festival with Busabout and dozens of other eager passengers, and I was so ready to finally sit with the cool kids — festival goers.
Ultra Music Festival originally started in Miami, FL in 1999, but has since expanded to Europe where it’s been held in Split, Croatia for the European edition the last 3 years.
It’s an annual outdoor electronic music festival (EDM) which is basically code for music that literally anyone and everyone can dance to.
For those who’ve been to several music festivals before, I hope you enjoy my noob observations and honest thoughts, because in between aggressive beer to mouth cycles, I took time to observe as much as I could. So here we go!
1. It’s where the hottest people from every country go to.
The first thing I noticed about these music festivals, is how much pride people have for their countries when coming to them. You’ll see a majority of people draped in their flags’ colors, wearing it as a cape on their backs, or painting the flag on their faces.
Music festivals are all about coming out to represent your country, while having a blast partying with people from other countries.
But for some reason, it’s not just any people that are coming to these festivals — they are the hottest of the hottest repping their country solid and giving me future destination ideas, because eye candy is an appetite that needs satisfying. Hey-oooh!
2. Camping isn’t nearly as bad as I thought.
When you think of camping at a festival, you might not have the cleanest image at first — at least I didn’t. But I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient camping at festivals actually is, and how many cleaning facilities are readily provided.
To be honest, I thought people just didn’t shower all weekend, and I had friends in town on standby for when I would drop by and use their bathrooms, but the Official Campground of Ultra (Beachville) was impressively equipped with enough stalls and mirrors that I never had to wait in line to use them.
Busabout also provided us with tents and air mattresses, so between having our own little area and decent facilities, I had no complaints!
Also, half the party and fun happens outside of the actual festival grounds at the campsite. We had a beach a few meters away, a BBQ the second day, and a stage where a DJ was getting us pumped up throughout the day before we headed back into Split for the night. It was a perfect combo.
3. Are people drunk or tired?
Before you guys destroy me for the video below, I honestly put my phone down and tried to help him and he refused. So my Snapchat followers got some free entertainment. See below in the first edition of Drunk or Tired?
Drunk or Tired is a fun game to play as you see the masses stumbling down the street, baby giraffe legs forming, unsure of their surroundings.
You’ll see what I liked to call zombified versions of humanity if mirrors didn’t exist. People look like hot messes and you’ll feel pity for them for a millisecond and then realize they’re just a nice nap away from looking functional.
And chances are, so are you.
4. What is sleep?
Really, what is it? Because it’s nowhere to be found at festivals, and certainly wasn’t a common theme at Ultra.
People have three days to live in the moment, rave to their favorite DJs, and party it up with
hot new friends from around the world.
The adrenaline keeps you awake, and your fluctuating sanity keeps you alive.
Fair trade, I say.
5. Know the level you need to be at to tolerate drunk people, and get there by noon.
Ah, yes. Those kind of drunks that you need to be at optimal tipsy level to tolerate. They will be out and in full force by as early as 10AM.
Before you go waving your card of maturity and standards in their face, just focus on what you need to
shoot consume to tolerate them.
At the end of the day, everybody is just having a good time, and while Obnoxious Ollie is over there pissing on a tent, reeking of poor life choices, and playing Hide-N-Go-Seek with his penis, you just remember that people like him need to exist to remind you how important house-training is when you become a parent one day.
6. Yes, people will do drugs. And most will look like idiots.
Not to be the mom here, but CHILE, YOU BETTA NOT!
Seriously, drugs are for losers. I don’t care who I offend. You’re better than that. And you’ll either be sold a random pill that could be viagra for all we know, and you’ll get nothing more than a placebo effect, and a guy who is 50 euros richer because of your stupidity.
I’ve seen guys walking with their eyes rolled to the back of their head, while their friends just ignore them until their trip is over, and guys passed out on the floor, having convulsions, and looking like sh*tting their pants was the next necessary step.
It’s not cute nor smart to take random drugs from strangers at festivals, and you’ll have Narcotic Niko tugging at your elbow asking if you want drugs every few minutes. Give him
the finger a stern NO and keep it moving.
7. The dance floor is a judgement-free zone. So don’t be a douche.
Having been to my fair share of dance clubs around the world, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing wallflowers and guys that are too cool to be getting jiggy to the tunes they love most.
At Ultra Europe, you won’t see a single still soul and I absolutely love it.
From guys rocking out with their air guitars to girls moving their arms in all sorts of directions, it’s so much fun to watch and part-take in, because as far as I’m concerned, you came here to shake what ya mama gave ya, and ya mama ain’t give birth to a stiff a$%. So shake that money-maker honey.
8. The word expensive takes on a whole new meaning.
You can expect an average meal to run you 10 USD and a beer to run you 5 USD. This is not only highway robbery, but it will hurt, so cry beforehand so that it’s less painful in the moment.
There’s a lot of workers, trash to clean, and steep costs that go into running a music festival, so accept that you’ll be spending your life’s savings on street food just to keep yourself functioning.
There’s also no re-entrance after you’ve entered, so if you want to save money, eat before you enter the grounds, because your only food options will be the overpriced menus they have. But at least there’s some variety!
9. Visit other stages and areas of the festival ground.
From the Chill Out Zone to the Resistance Stage, take a break from the main stage madness and explore the entire monstrosity of the festival ground.
Chances are, you might have a better time away from the main stage as you get the opportunity to breathe oxygen again, as opposed to people’s BO (body odor).
Not to mention, some of the acts on the secondary stages are amazing, and the Chill Out Zone has video games! Nuff said.
10. If you don’t make it ’til sunrise at least one night, then did you really even Ultra?
Although the Friday night schedule was cancelled this year due to “bad” weather, I still had two chances to make it ’til 5AM for either Saturday or Sunday night.
Saturday, since they were making up for Friday’s schedule, started around 1PM. And basically, there was no one in their right [or left] mind that lasted the full 16 hours.
And if they did, refer to #6 and shame them.
Sunday night was my night of glory where I
half-coherently proudly rode the morning bus back into the campsite, amazed at my endurance and ready to fall into a sleep coma the remainder of the day.
There’s just something glorious about walking into a festival at night and leaving in the morning. That glory will permeate your clothes and leave a stench so mighty that even you can’t help but applaud your own badassery.
All in all, I highly recommend Ultra Europe for the first-time festival goer, or the twentieth-time festival goer. Split, Croatia was an amazing host city, and I’m excited to see them continue a long run of these annual shenanigans.
While Martin Garrix and David Guetta were some of my favorite DJs, it’s safe to say that the real winner here, was this guy. Hashtag, CHAMP.
A huge thanks to Busabout for sponsoring my ticket to this festival! For more information on festivals you can attend through Busabout, check out this link!