Ultra Music Festival Has Officially Left Miami

Published on May 9, 2019

For the last 21 years, Miami has been home to Ultra Music Festival. The annual all-electronic music event has garnered quite a reputation. With worldwide events happening year-round, the festival has brought hundreds of thousands of people to the city during its flagship event every March. That is, until the city’s residents wanted the festival out of its downtown location of Bayfront Park, where it’s been for the last couple of years. After a not so successful attempt to keep the festival within Miami, Ultra has decided to part ways once and for all. The company made the announcement via open letter which it posted to its twitter account, as a way to address fans first and foremost.

Miami Music Week 2019

Ultra began looking for a new venue after last year’s event when local residents expressed that they wanted the festival out of downtown. The festival has previously dealt with strict curfews and having to walk on thin ice in order to maintain its place in Bayfront Park. It’s troubles came as no surprise to fans of the event, but many expressed concern that the festival would lose much of its charm if it were to move outside of downtown Miami.

When Ultra announced that it would be moving to a new location—this time, at Virginia Key just across the bay from downtown Miami. The new location was much quieter and rural, making it the theoretical ideal for dealing with the problem of disrupting local residents. It meant that the festival could run later, and increase the capacity since the venue was much bigger than in previous years.

Unfortunately, the new location brought with it more issues than ever before. Since the festival was located across the bay on an island, the only way to get to the event was across one bridge. This posed as an issue when police shut traffic down on the second night of the 2019 festival. The move left thousands of festival-goers stranded and forced to walk across the dangerous bridge in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, a fire broke out on the festival grounds, leaving more attendees and crew in danger. With the traffic blocking the bridge, it could have been a lot worse if emergency services couldn’t get through.

Where To Next?

Despite the fact that Ultra managed to maintain good reviews through a less than smooth 2019 event, the festival has decided to cut ties with the city of Miami once and for all. “After listening to feedback from many of you (including over 20,000 fans who took our post-event survey), it is clear the festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough,” the festival wrote in an open letter posted to its Twitter account. “Accordingly, we have voluntarily terminated our City of Miami license and thank them for being a part of our story for the last two decades,” the letter continued.

As Ultra searches for a new location, it will have to rebrand itself as its Miami location has become part of its identity and brand. A new location could make or break the festival, as attendees and fans are worried that the event will simply move to the local speedway. Such a move would draw too many comparisons to the festival’s competitor, Electric Daisy Carnival, which takes place in Las Vegas. Regardless, Ultra won’t be moving anywhere in Miami.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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