After years of strained relationships with the local government and community, Ultra Music Festival has announced that they will not return to Miami next year. The popular EDM festival, which traditionally takes place during Miami Music Week, will move to an as-yet-undisclosed new South Florida location in 2019.
The move comes after the festival faced a number of venue-based obstacles in recent years. In 2018, the Miami City Commission unanimously voted to deny Ultra’s application for a new contract that would have kept the festival at the city’s Bayfront Park for the next five years. A couple months later, the festival announced that they would move to a new Miami home, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park.
However, while Ultra hoped they had found a new long-term home at Virginia Key Beach Park, this year’s festival at the new location suffered a variety of logistical setbacks. Due to transportation issues from the island venue, countless attendees were left stranded when trying to leave the event, resulting in an ugly, chaotic scene.
Furthermore, a recent scientific study on the environmental effects of Ultra on its new 2019 location asserted that the high sound levels had a harmful effect on local marine wildlife. According to a report from local news outlet Key News, scientists claimed that fish who also call Miami their home “suffered excess levels of stress” due to the loud music pumped through the air (and into the water) at the festival. Apparently, the soundwaves caused fish to experience stress levels higher than what they experience when swimming for their lives while being chased by predators. “Ultra was causing short-term, acute stress on our fish,” Danielle McDonald, a professor of marine biology at the University of Miami, said in a statement of their biological findings.
This combination of obstacles threw the future of Ultra in Miami into question as the festival awaited a ruling from the Miami City Commission as to whether they’d be welcomed back in 2020. Today, May 9th, was the deadline for the Commission to make their decision.
Before that could happen, Ultra made the announcement that they had voluntarily terminated their City of Miami license in favor of a new venue. As the festival noted in a letter to fans posted to Twitter on Wednesday,
Throughout the years of Ultra’s existence, our top priority has always been to offer you the best possible music festival experience. Since our inaugural festival in 1999, we have hosted Ultra Music Festival at a variety of different venues throughout the Greater Miami area, with our most recent event taking place on Virginia Key.
After listening to feedback from many of you (including over 20,000 fans who took our post-event survey), it is clear that the festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough. This is Ultra Music Festival, after all, and our attendees expect us to deliver on our commitment to excellence. Being committed to excellence not only means constantly striving to become better, it also means being willing to change things when they are not working.
Accordingly, we have voluntarily terminated our City of Miami license and thank them for being a part of our story over the last two decades.
We are now finalizing a new South Florida location that will serve as an incredible and permanent home for Ultra Music Festival. We have been approached by many interested parties over the years with offers to host the festival at some very unique and impressive locales. One of these, however, has shined far above the others, and we look forward to making our home there for many years to come.
We are in the process of putting the finishing touches on the final details that will ensure that this new location allows us to deliver the incredible experience that our loyal fans expect and deserve. Our priority is providing our attendees a unique, accessible, breathtaking venue.
A formal announcement including full event details and ticket information will be made soon.
Ultra Music Festival
So, Ultra Music Festival will live on—though not in its longtime home of Miami. Here’s wishing the best of luck to the event as they move into this new chapter.