Ultra Music Festival will be returning to its home at the Bayfront Park in downtown Miami in 2020.
From 2001 to 2018, Bayfront Park on Biscayne Boulevard has hosted the event every March. Due to noise complaints and concerns from local residents, Miami commissioners voted unanimously against allowing the festival to return to Bayfront Park in 2019. The 2019 event on Virginia Key experienced a lot of logistical issues, particularly concerning traffic.
After almost a year of discussions, the City of Miami has voted to bring Ultra Music Festival back to Bayfront Park. The Miami City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal to offer Ultra a revokable license agreement, allowing the festival’s return. Commissioners Keon Hardemon (District 5), Willy Gort (District 1), and Manolo Reyes (District 4) voted in favor, while commissioners Joe Carollo (District 3) and Ken Russell (District 2) voted in opposition.
In order to adhere to the new agreement, the festival will need to make a lot of changes. The newly revises contract includes changes such as limiting the daily number of festival attendees to 55,000, the modification of the sound level from 110 decibels to 102 and ending the event at midnight each night. The Biscayne stage will also be eliminated.
A major point of the dispute revolves around the disputed $475,000 that the City of Miami claims Ultra still owes. That sum includes the purchase of a significant amount of equipment like body armor and ATVs that were not included in the original contract. After compromising, Ultra agreed to pay $308,000 in which half of that will be paid within ten days of the event’s conclusion in March. The fee is in addition to the $2 million fee that Ultra has to pay to be able to host the event in its longtime home.
Supporters of Ultra highlighted the job opportunities and income the festival creates for the city of Miami every year. According to Hardemon’s resolution, Ultra has generated approximately $995 million of economic impact, $168 million, 1,834 jobs in last year’s event alone. Representatives from VolunteerCleanup.org and the Surfrider Foundation also chimed in to voice their support for the festival’s return, supporting its efforts to make it a sustainable event.
Last year’s Ultra faced numerous issues in its new location on the Virginia Key in 2019, highlighted by a firework-induced fire, and a difficult exit for thousands of attendees. Now, it will return home.
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