By Scott T. Sterling
In the continued fallout from the drama surrounding this year’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami, festival promoters have launched a campaign to maintain the annual event’s location while city officials are actively campaigning to put an end it its storied run.
With a security guard critically injured in a gatecrashing trampling incident and an attendee being found dead in a parked car, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff have been steadfast in their determination that the city no longer host the massive event, which brings in tens of thousands of dance music tourists and millions of dollars to the surrounding area.
Sarnoff continues to turn up the heat, recently compiling a “worst of Ultra” video culled from footage found on YouTube. Among the images on the video include gatecrashing fans, a violent fight that goes unchecked, and a shot that may or may not show a woman urinating onto the head of a passed-out man that went viral soon after this year’s festival (see clips above).
“The money that Ultra is spending is nothing more than blood money,” Sarnoff told CBS Miami this week.
In reaction to the city officials’ opposition to the festival, Ultra promoters have launched a Change.org petition to “Keep Ultra Music Festival in Miami.”
“Recently, certain City of Miami officials have called for an end to Ultra Music Festival at its current home of Bayfront Park in downtown Miami,” reads the petition. “In order to stay at Bayfront Park we need your support now…Please sign this petition to indicate your support of Ultra Music Festival as a catalyst for economic activity and key promoter of the City of Miami’s reputation as a top entertainment and leisure destination.”
At press time, the petition had already generated more than 20,000 signatures, with almost 30,000 more necessary to reach the goal of 50,000 signatures.
Support for the petition has come in from all corners of the dance music community, including such marquee artists as Tiesto and Danny Avila, local clubs like LV Miami and industry insiders including publicist Alexandra Greenberg. Festival supporters have bombarded Twitter with the hashtag #SaveUltra.
Tomorrow (April 10), the Miami City Commission will vote on proposed legislation that would ban Ultra Music Festival from its longtime location in the city’s downtown.
While the Miami New Times points out that Ultra has a contract with Miami that allows them to hold the festival in the city’s Bayfront Park, the publication also notes a “default provision” which would allow the contract to voided under certain circumstances:
“In the event [Ultra] shall fail to comply with any material term and condition of the Agreement or shall fail to perform any of the material terms and conditions contained herein, then the Trust, at its sole option and in addition to all other rights and legal remedies available to it by law, upon written notice to [Ultra] may cancel and terminate this Agreement.”
Ultra does have friends on the Miami City Commission — namely Frank Carollo, who was instrumental in beating back an initiative to shut down Ultra’s second weekend in 2013. There could be some personal bias, however; Carollo is also chair of the Bayfront Park Management Trust, which generates significant amounts of money from the festival every year.
Dance fans around the world will surely be paying close attention to the April 10 meeting and the vote regarding the future of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Depending on which way it goes, 2014 could very well be the last year the city hosts the massively popular destination event.
Stay tuned to Glimmerist for the latest news and information surrounding this pivotal moment for the Ultra Music Festival.