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Front Page » Arts & Culture » Miami may seal Ultra Music Festival future

Miami may seal Ultra Music Festival future

Written by on May 7, 2019
Miami may seal Ultra Music Festival future

Whether the Ultra Music Festival is allowed a second year on Virginia Key could be decided today (5/9) by the Miami City Commission.

And this time, the city’s advisory body for all things on the barrier island – the Virginia Key Advisory Board – has formally objected to holding Ultra there.

The board took a similar action last fall, but it was after the city commission had already approved a revocable license to the production company allowing the 2019 show on two city-owned sites on the island: the flex park around idled Miami Marine Stadium and near the Historic Virginia Key Beach.

On today’s agenda is a resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Joe Carollo, to terminate the revocable license agreement with Event Entertainment Group Inc. for the Ultra Music Festival at those two sites, or in the alternative, directing the city manager to allow the revocable license agreement for Ultra on the island to remain in effect.

Under provisions of the special license approved last year by the commission on a 4-1 vote, the city has 60 days from this year’s festival, held March 29-31, to decide whether to allow the event on the island next year.

At the commission’s April 11 meeting it heard from many people who asked that Ultra not be staged on the island again, citing complaints about snarled traffic, noise, trash, and potential impacts to animals and the environment.

“I’m here to request the Ultra license not be renewed,” Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey told commissioners at that meeting.

Mr. Davey made similar pleas to the advisory board April 23, when the 2019 festival was an agenda item.

“We are against Ultra being on Virginia Key,” he told the board. While he acknowledged a team of first responders with police, fire and emergency personnel from the city, village and county did a great job to police the three-day event – and Ultra staff did what they could to smooth operations – “it wasn’t enough” to prevent problems.

A transportation plan fell apart, causing the first night’s capacity crowd to spill out onto the Rickenbacker Causeway and walk back to the mainland after the music stopped at 2 a.m., said Mr. Davey.

The island is “just not the right place” for such a large event, he said. An estimated 55,000 people attended each of the three days.

“We had no ingress or egress for some time,” said Mr. Davey. “Our businesses suffered … 68% of our restaurants experienced a downward trend, and other businesses were impacted. Attendance at the state and county parks were off by 50% that weekend.”

On a 5-3 vote, the advisory board recommended that the city commission terminate the license agreement with Events Entertainment Group Inc. for Ultra on Virginia Key, and directed that a copy of the resolution be submitted on the record and included with the proposed resolution under consideration by commissioners today.

The board’s resolution says, in part: “… the Board members have and continue to voice their comments, concerns, questions, and recommendations on the record as it relates to Ultra Music Festival and its impact on the Event Sites.”

Late last year, the advisory board approved a resolution objecting to Ultra on the island.
That resolution noted the city’s agreement with the music festival producers “is in conflict with the 2010 Virginia Key Master Plan’s overarching themes of preservation and enhancement of natural areas.”

Also, it said, with the Ultra Music Festival occurring in late March on and around Marine Stadium and the boat show in mid-February, the public access is lost for more than six months.

The advisory board is tasked with advising and making recommendations to the city commission with respect to “the mission, vision, business plan, governance and operation of Virginia Key, its abutting property and basin, and the implementation of the 2010 Virginia Key Master Plan as it relates to the entirety of Virginia Key.”

5 Responses to Miami may seal Ultra Music Festival future

  1. D.C.

    May 8, 2019 at 9:49 am

    You could always move it to Marlins Stadium. When it gets too loud, just close the roof.

  2. Josef Heartmen

    May 8, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Ultra does not belong in this location! They need to move it back to Bayfront park or outside of Miami. It will make more sense if they move to homestead speedway a much bigger and much better venue for Ultra and over there they can have 150,000 a day no problem! Not sure why Ultra organizers still insist of staying in such sensitive location like Virginia key and deal with such nightmare… making everyone angry and upset even their own fans hates this location and the traffic nightmare besides the 3 miles hike over the bridge and back to the city… Ultra needs to be smarter and expand their festival to a much better scale outside of the city same like all serious massive festivals.. they need to take an example of other festivals such as Coachella, EDC, Tomorrowland and many others… The Virginia key is just the wrong location in every aspect especially for the future of Ultra, They will get kicked out of there sooner or later… Ultra be smart and expand your business and make it a much more enjoyable experience to your fans and festivals goers rather than fighting for this nightmare… no one will win here in this location.. all that ultra will win in this location is more hate from the residents, losing annoyed fans and bunch of lawsuits…. If you really care for Ultra, support it in a suitable location like homestead speedway.

    This is definitely not a good news for Ultra! More money talks %100. If Ultra used the money weapon to win over the residents and environmental concerns, Now the residents and environmentalists have a lot more to win!! Bye Bye Ultra! Be smart and move to Homestead.

  3. Danny

    May 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Why can’t this be held in downtown. It’s not as if Ultra was the only event to have an impact on the usability of Bayfront Park. They got rid of Ultra, which is by far the most economically valuable event the park could host, (the park hosts events in order to gain revenue. Taxpayers don’t fund the maintenance of this park. Ultra would have given a $2 million dollar fee each year towards the bayfront manangemt trust which maintains the park.) Bayfront park still hosts events all year round the take up space in the park, close off the park, and make it non accessible. But they got rid of Ultra and not any of those. I say make space for Ultra by getting rid of other events that don’t have the economic impact that Ultra has

  4. William P Martin

    May 8, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Many cities around the world will kill to have the Ultra Music Festival. The positives outweigh the negatives. Miami want (or claim) to be a world class city, but doesn’t want world class events (Ultra, Miami Open, Gran Prix, etc.)

  5. Gerwyn Flax

    May 9, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Good point. Miami has lost three major events that brought it positive notoriety on the world’s stage. Bayside is a bad joke and so is the park. Why should anyone come to downtown? Where are the attractions? They’re incapable of even maintaining and operating a measley fountain. The Mayor and all the Commissioners need to do a little travelling and really experience what a “world class” city looks and feels like, and then be voted out of office.