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Sound Checks Begin For Ultra Fest In Downtown Miami

MIAMI (CBS4) - If you venture into Downtown Miami Wednesday or Thursday night there is a good chance your walls will thump and your windows glow.

Sound checks are underway for Utlra Music Festival until 9 o'clock each night. And that is just the beginning of the fun or noise depending on how you view it.

The fences are going up for the festival all along Biscayne Boulevard. No, they are not there to coral the concertgoers downtown. Rather it is to protect the buildings.

Along with that Bayfront Park is now completely closed off. Children and dogs told to take their business elsewhere.

"I've heard a lot of people complaining in Downtown that Ultra is coming in and it disrupts the city. But to be honest that's why you live in the city. To experience arts, entertainment, culture. What Miami is now becoming," said Downtown resident Katie Jane.

Jane and her dog Rex live right across from Bayfront Park and the Ultra main stage – one of seven stages used during the event. Jane said she has a front row seat from her balcony.

"It's a free light show," Jane said with a smile. She said she plans to go anyway however.

Everyone Downtown has already had the pleasure of being blasted by light and sound through rehearsals. Some love it.

"They've been testing the lights and it literally beams through every single glass in every building, but it's fun," Giovanni Restrepo told CBS4.

There a quite a few people, however, who are not loving it.

"Our windows rattle like this," Paul Machado said as shook his hands.

Machado's office has a bird's eye view of it all.

"The stage faces our building and we get to hear their sound checks. It's incredibly loud." he said. "Windows rattle. Desks rattle. We can't - we stop working."

It will be up to Miami's finest to control the masses. Some 50,000 to 60,000 are expected each day. This year there are 208 police officers on hand which is nearly 50 percent more than last year. The concert even boasts its own fire station.

"We are going to do our best." Sergeant Freddie Cruz of the Miami Police told CBS4.

Traffic is their biggest concern. Newly released plans call for the closing of northbound Biscayne Boulevard at 10 a.m. Friday. It will stay closed until Monday at 6 a.m. The roadway will actually become the entrance to the festival.

Machado plans to stop work early Friday to avoid a traffic and noise mess.

"Well I think the kids are going to have a great time. Not so much for us." Machado said.

Downtown Miami can expect to be living and working behind the fences now through sometime in April. That's when the setup from Ultra is supposed to be gone and the park is back open.


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