The Miami City Commission voted 3-2 Thursday July 25, 2019 on a revocable contract that would see Ultra Music Festival return to Miami, Florida’s Bayfront Park in 2020.
Commissioners Ken Russel and Joe Carollo opposed while Commissioners Keon Hardemon, Manolo Reyes and Wifredo Gert voted in favor.
The Miami Herald reports that while the vote provides another incredible moment in the year-long battle for Ultra to find a home, it left many residents angry and the business community rejoicing.
The summer of 2018 saw the commission reject a deal allowing Ultra to stay in downtown Miami. With ticket sales already underway but with no location, Commissioner Hardemon ultimately sympathized with Ultra’s organizers and proposed the six mile move to Virginia Key for 2019’s event. The move was approved in September 2018.
2019’s March event was lackluster at best because of the hasten move. Many logistical issues plagued the weekend along with an unorganized exit on the first night that saw many attendees flood the nearby highway. Coupled with sound complaints from Coconut Grove residents, the criticism proved too much for Ultra’s organizers, and they voluntarily backed out in May 2019 before commissioners could begin to weigh on another year at Virginia Key.
The festival had received interest from other venues across the country, and after weighing their options, the same commissioners that booted the festival in 2018 publicly discussed having second thoughts causing neighbors to voice their disapproval. Many claim the Miami homegrown event is a public nuisance describing how decibel levels from across the street were rattling their homes.
On the other hand, business owners and tourism officials feel the energy and entertainment value is a positive step to the urban core from the 3-day festival’s 200,000 ticket holders.
Thus, the majority of the commission reversed its stance from only a year ago and sided with Ultra.
However, as part of the revocable contract, the maximum decibel level will be lowered to 102 dB, and the Biscayne (Oasis) stage will be eliminated.
Ultra will also reimburse the city of Miami $308,000 (negotiated from $475,000) in monies owed for police and fire protection.
An additional concession made during the course of the meeting was the possibility that one of the Resistance stages be permanently removed to keep the children’s park at Bayfront open to the public. It’s unclear what decision the commission arrived at regarding this issue.
In the end, commissioner
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