There's this shared fantasy among neo-hippies, blissed-out druggies, and naïve first-time festival-goers that three-day music extravaganzas like Ultra Music Festival are all about fun and friendship.
But here's the real deal: The music festival experience is an arduous and often dangerous 72-hour trip into a deep, dance-y heart of darkness. And like any large-scale gathering of unpredictable human creatures, the whole thing has the potential to tip over into total chaos with nary a moment's notice.
You might buy a bad batch of drugs. You might get dehydrated. You might get sick. You might shit your pants. And worst of all, you might not be able to issue regular social media updates about every last infinitesimal detail of your weekend in hell.
These are the dangers of life in the wilds of Bicentennial Park. Be prepared with Crossfade's ultimate Ultra survival kit.
In this socially obsessed, obscenely mediated world, there's no freaking point in attending any kind of party (um, let alone a major musical festival featuring 200 acts and 149,999 of your BFFs) without an internet-rigged means of documenting your many misadventures. So bring your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Samsung Nexus S ... If you didn't Tweet it, you weren't actually there.
4. Empty Plastic Bag
Seems strange, right? But the thin, flexible, lightweight polyethylene pouch is one of humanity's most adaptable inventions. Really, its uses are unending. If you need to take a nap, you've got an inflatable pillow. If it starts to rain, you've got a poncho. And if you get caught in line at the port-a-potty with an urgent case of explosive diarrhea, you've got a plan.
If you were headed for Bonnaroo, we'd suggest you bring insect repellant because there's a good chance you'll get attacked at some point by a million malaria-infested mosquitoes. But this is downtown Miami. It's all concrete. And you're way more likely to get bitten by a crazy dude than any member of the blood-sucking Culicidae family of flies. Hence, a trusty can of pepper spray.
Colloquially known as ecstasy, E, XTC, and thizz, this upper is a good time in tablet form. But it's not just a therapeutic mood booster especially adept at squashing bad vibes. It's also one of the most valuable commodities available to the average Ultra attendee. You can trade it for food, drink, sex, etc. And in the unlikely event that the very fabric of society begins to suddenly break down midway through the festival and people start lighting the whole world on fire (see: Woodstock '99), these little pills will become a form of de facto currency, supplanting the good ol' American dollar.
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1. Water Purification Pills
There is only one resource more precious than ecstasy at an electronic music festival. And that's water. So if by some strange sequence of events human fecal matter finds its way into your H2O supply, you will be infinitely grateful for a pocketful of water purification tablets. 'Cause we all know dehydration sucks. But E. coli poisoning sucks worse. Stay clean and pure, ravers.
Ultra Music Festival. Friday, March 25, to Sunday, March 27. Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Gates open at 4 p.m. on Friday, and noon on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are sold out. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.