By Scott T. Sterling
After a concerned effort by the city’s mayor and other political figures to ban the popular EDM festival, the Miami City Commission has voted 4-1 to allow Ultra to maintain its current location at Bayfront Park.
The vote to allow Ultra to continue to rave on in Miami’s downtown area came in spite of City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s impassioned plea to send the fest packing: “We had one person who died of an overdose at Jackson, two who are in critical condition,” he said (via CBS Miami), going on to show a video of a fight that happened near one of the stages this year, which went on for a good six minutes before police finally arrived to intervene.
“Residents complain that they are prisoners in their homes for three days,” added Miami Mayor Tomas Regaldo.
University of Miami Vice President Pat Whitely also chimed in against Ultra, telling the City Commission that “our students safety and well being is paramount and there is simply no more important measure that we can do is to take care of our students.”
The movement to ban Ultra followed a number of unfortunate incidents at this year’s event, including gatecrashers sending security guard Ericka Mack to the hospital after being trampled.
Ultra promoters have agreed to increase police security, add more secured fencing around the event, establish “substance abuse stations” and increased contact between the festival’s security personnel and the chief of police.
The influx of cash into the city’s economy (which is estimated at an impressive $80 million annually) has been cited as one of the main reasons the commission allowed Ultra to stay.
Ultra organizers responded to the vote with a Facebook post voicing their obvious elation at the results:
“We are pleased with today’s decision by the City of Miami Commission to continue our long-standing tradition of producing the Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami. We are also extremely happy for our fans from around the world who love coming to Miami to be part of Ultra. The setting for the event in downtown Miami is part of what makes the event magical. We appreciate the commission for their vote today.
We will continue to work closely with the City of Miami, the Bayfront Park Management Trust, City of Miami Police Department and other municipal partners, small business owners and the local downtown community to ensure next year’s event is a safe and fun environment for concertgoers and Miami residents. We are pleased to continue our ongoing practice of assessing and implementing improved security measures as well as any recommendations from our ongoing security review being led by our new Director of Security, Police Chief Ray Martinez.
As a Miami-based company, creating jobs and attracting tourism to South Florida, we are privileged to create over 1,800 direct jobs in our community and bring over $80 million in economic impact to our local economy. We are optimistic about the future and creating more opportunities to grow and strengthen Miami for all.”