For more than a hundred thousand electronic dance music fans from across the world, Ultra Music Festival is heaven on earth. But tell that to the people who live and work close by.
As I walked through Miami with audiologist Cindy Simon this last Saturday, we were searching for the farthest reaches of the music into the city. We found it took about two blocks straight into downtown--SE 1st Street and 2nd Avenue--for the ambient noise of the city to actually be louder than the music itself.
That's at least four blocks from the main stage--in the day time.
When the sun sets and the crowds come out, the noise levels increase. Fellow sound level reader Michael Lefkowitz confirms that as the nights wore on during the first weekend, his average decibel readings rose from the 90s into the 100s.
Our own Sammy Mack was out to dinner at Sakaya Kitchen--several blocks away from the main stage--during a sound check this week and noticed the Ultra bass was visible:
According to reports that we received through the PIN network and on-the-ground observations, the approximate boundaries of the festival sound are as follows:
- The Miami Herald building to the north.
- About NE 7th Street and 1st Avenue to the northwest.
- 5th Street and Brickell Avenue to the southwest.
- The northern edge of Brickell Key to the south.
- Well into Biscayne Bay, touching the Port of Miami and Watson Island.
For some, the noise is unbearable. If you haven't heard resident Jason Katz's rant on the effects of Ultra from his apartment (above), it's worth a thousand listens.
Brickell Key resident Erin Mulholland tells us that even from her view, the festival affects her daily life. "I have a one year old son, and I'm constantly worried that Ultra is going to wake him up because the loud thumping noises are right outside of his bedroom window."
Others get a kick out of it. As resident Lisa B. would tell it: "Ultra Miami is one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and I'm lucky enough to live right next to the madness. Located right on NE 8th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Marina Blue towers over the AA Arena and delivers quite the view, perfect for watching the many incoming Ultra fans."
We all march to the beat of our own drum--and sometimes that's in sync with Ultra's bass line.
This article used comments from members of the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with The Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a news source for WLRN by going to WLRN.org/Insight.