Ultra Faces Fierce Opposition During Miami City Commission Meeting

This year has been the year of changes for Ultra Music Festival. Although the festival is now over, The City of Miami is still not done talking about it. Today, Commissioner Joe Carollo as well as others had a lot to say regarding this year. The Agreement between Miami and Ultra allows the City 60 days after Ultra’s completion to object prior to the following year being locked in. This is why the opposition is creeping up again already.

Although we all knew there would be hiccups within the festival this year, The City of Miami is hanging on to Ultra by a thread. Joe Carollo, who originally sparked the debate of Ultra’s contract at the Bayfront Park; expects supporters of the festival to stay silent while complainers are welcome to complain.

The entire hearing today seemed designed to bring in “aggrieved” parties whining endlessly because of the “low frequency bass” torturing them from miles away on a weekend night. One after the next sob stories about how horrible Ultra is revolved around little more than 1) traffic snarls and 2) bass. The Mayor of Miami was quick to note that Miami Music Week is spread out all over the city and music can be coming from literally anywhere during the time.

The Mayor of Miami was very supportive of the event, but he was also suggesting changes. He suggested the closing times were too late, there needed to be a standard for “low frequency bass” heard at Brickell, more ferries were needed, Vizcaya was not suitable as a shuttle hub, and ferries/buses should not play loud music during return trips. Another Commissioner felt the mainstage should face away from Downtown and Brickell so the sound does not reverberate that direction. This would flip the entire layout.

Carollo seemed disappointed in Ultra’s overall performance after asking Biscayne Mayor about what issues besides traffic the festival had. Despite his fierce opposition to Ultra, the Key Biscayne Mayor admitted that there were no major issues besides expenses of the festival. 

While other commissioners emphasized problems with this years festival during today’s meeting, they recognized the limited time Ultra realistically had for planning. City manager, Emilio Gonzalez expressed major support and said that he believes the festival operations could be tweaked for future events. He brought up that Ultra should be using more water vessels, adjusting the time of the festival, as well as the bus shuttle system.

Keon Hardemon opened his statement by thanking Ultra for another marvelous year of the festival following Miami Music Week. All together, commissioners came to the conclusion that Virginia Key was not an appropriate venue for the enormous festival.

The Commissioners set the final vote for May 9. They want to give notice to all interested parties in favor or against so they can show up and be heard before a decision is made. The “get off my lawn” crowd and the detractors are betting that Ultra’s supporters will stay quiet while the complainers will be out in force. Their contact information is listed below.

Office Of The Mayor Francis X Suarez Executive Mayor (305)250-5300 fsuarez@miamigov.com

Commissioner Dist – 1 Wifredo Gort Board Of Commissioner (305)250-5430 wgort@miamigov.com

Commissioner Dist – 2 Ken Russell Board Of Commissioner (305)250-5333 krussell@miamigov.com

Commissioner Dist – 3 Joe Carollo Board Of Commissioner (305)250-5380 JCarollo@miamigov.com

Commissioner Dist – 4 Manuel E Reyes Board Of Commissioner (305)250-5420 MReyes@miamigov.com

Commissioner Dist – 5 Keon Hardemon Board Of Commissioner (305)250-5390 KHardemon@miamigov.com