In a turn of events, Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola wants the City to consider hosting next years Ultra Music Festival in March 2020 as an alternative to Spring Break. For the past two years, City officials & residents have been talking about changing the image of the month of March which has been largely ruined by ‘Spring Breakers’. Similar efforts have proved successful at changing the tone of Memorial Day Weekend. Commissioner Arriola has placed a discussion item (Which you can view here) on the agenda for next week’s Commission meeting (22nd May 5 pm) to authorize discussions with Ultra’s organizers.
Ultra, a while ago announced it was leaving the City of Miami after nearly two decades there. In their statement, they said that they were voluntarily terminating Ultra’s contract with the city, citing the “festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough.”. After this, they supposedly had been in discussions with Homestead about a possible move there. But the festival organizers indicated a willingness to talk with Miami Beach after being approached by community leaders.
In his memo to the Commissioners, Arriola wrote,
Inviting an established, well-organized event like Ultra for Spring Break 2020 will put heads in beds and serve as the counter-programming mechanism against the unorganized chaos that was Spring Break 2019 on Miami Beach.”
“They are well organized. We don’t have the violence and street parties that we’ve been experiencing with Spring Break. The Ultra crowd is older, non-violent. They’re not going to be partying in the streets with unorganized random street parties as we have during Spring Break.”
Miami Beach over the past few years has been having a bit of a problem with rowdy spring breakers disrupting the general peace of everyone living there. Residents & Business owners alike have been complaining about spring breakers misbehaving & causing general chaos. Commissioner Arriola sees Ultra Music Festival as the perfect way to mitigate their problem. One single large event in one place makes it more manageable for everyone & that’s not even considering the revenue stream Ultra would bring to Miami Beach.
Mike Palma, Chair of the Ocean Drive also noted that the Ultra’s organizers are experienced and have a “good security plan.” While the festival is a weekend-long event, the necessary setup and break down time would give the City of Miami Beach “The ability to shut down the beach areas we’re having issues with” during the month of March.
John Deutzman, the co-founder of the Miami Beach Crime Prevention and Awareness Group, is another strong proponent of the idea.
“I’ve been really strong that we need an idea to make sure that we have a big event that’s so big and so attractive that we displace the chaos and violence of Spring Break,” Deutzman said. “It’s actually the entire month of March which I call March Madness. The whole month was a mess.”
Arriola wants Commissioners to authorize City Manager Jimmy Morales to begin discussions with the festival’s organizers “to determine the feasibility of hosting Ultra Music Festival 2020 at Lummus Park provided that an adequate public safety, transportation, and noise mitigation plan be provided.” The City Commission item will be up for discussion at next Wednesday’s (22nd May) meeting at 5 pm.