Miami invites Ultra back to Bayfront Park under new terms

In a seemingly never-ending saga of city politics and buzzing debate the fate of Ultra Music Festival is on the table once again. The story of a city driven by tourism while struggling to appease the residents who call it home is far from over. Driven by residential complaints of excessive noise and unruly festival-goers, the city voted unanimously to deny Ultra’s contract at long standing venue Bayfront Park last September.

After an eventful back-and-forth that included an abrupt venue changes less than six months out from showtime, a slew of controversial logistical and transportation problems and an eventual decision to announce Ultra's departure from Miami to find a new home in Virginia Key, politicians in Miami have made an unprecedented move to attempt to bring the festival back. However, the request comes with a handful of limitations and regulations.

In a proposal sponsored by Commissioner Keon Hardemon Ultra would be allowed to return to Bayfront Park on the condition that the festival pay the city a minimum of $2 million and would only be allowed to occupy the park for a month, with 14 being the number of days the park would be allowed to be closed entirely.

The city would be entitled to the greater amount of profits if ticket surcharges exceeded the $2 million agreed upon. If the agreement were to last three years, the $2 million minimum would increase three percent in the third year and continue to increase annually. The new terms also place time limits on festival hours, allowing Ultra to operate from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. Capacity would be limited to 55,000 people though that limit could be increased with the city’s approval.

Ultra Music Festival represents millions of dollars of income for Miami each year if they choose to continue to host the festival. Those millions have the potential to move elsewhere to cities such as Hialeah or Homestead that have since been courting Ultra ever since it left Bayfront Park.

The new proposal is set to go straight to the commission for a vote on June 27, requiring only three of five commissioners to approve. If approved, this could end months of turmoil and debate over with the festival’s homecoming to its original venue. The 2020 edition of Ultra Music Festival is slated to return March 27-29.

Elsa is an Editorial Intern at Mixmag. Follow her on Twitter.

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