Ultra Music Festival Kicked Out Of Downtown Miami: This Is Long Overdue

Okay. So, this is tricky. A true 50-50 proposition. On one hand the Ultra Music Festival is a huge disturbance to the downtown corridor — it causes massive traffic delays, Bayfront Park closes for six weeks during our peak season, the noise and lights pound and shake apartments for 20 city blocks, and unarguably lots of drugs and weirdos are floating around. According to the DDA, 80,750 residents live in the Downtown corridor. That’s a 100 percent increase since the 2000 census — one must wonder how many of these people want Ultra to stay.

On the other hand, relax, right.

The festival is a celebration of the spirit of youth — the culmination of Winter Music Week. It generates millions of dollars for the city and the Bayside Park Trust as well as for hotels, restaurants, AirBNB hosts, and taxi and Uber drivers.

Still, there isn’t a city in America that hosts such a large event right smack dab in the middle of it’s city corridor. Most comparable EDM events are held at raceways (EDC Vegas) or at baseball stadiums (EDC Orlando) or in Miami at the football stadium (Life Is Color). And then you have the Ultra Music Festival — the biggest and the baddest of them all — occurring literally right on Biscayne Blvd.

Rolling Loud had to leave, it was only a matter of time before Ultra moved too.

Ultra Music Festival Will Be Fine

Sure, they made adjustments — for example, the festival is no longer all-ages. Nor are certain paraphernalia items allowed in. But still — the park is closed for six weeks. And when it reopens, the grass is all fucked up. It takes like 4 months to heal from the Ultra Music Festival. As someone who lived two blocks away and is not cool with losing the park for so long (I use it daily to walk the dog), Downtown is too big now for Ultra.

They had a good run.

They can move to the stadium like Rolling Loud. They’ll be just fine. And so will we.

What do you think?

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.