Ultra Music Festival signs peace treaty with downtown Miami residents striking necessary balance to remain in Miami for years to come

MIAMI, FLORIDA / UNITED STATES – MARCH 30, 2019: Ultra Music Festival at the Miami Marine Stadium in Virginia Key, Florida – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Hunter Crenian

After years of battling with local city officials and the world’s largest electronic dance music festival organizer, downtown Miami residents can breathe a sigh of relief after a monumental agreement was reached to satisfy all parties involved. 

Festival organizers at Ultra Music Festival announced earlier this week on Tuesday that they reached terms with the Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA), a neighborhood association representing over a dozen downtown condominium highrises.

The agreement’s first phase will begin with Ultra organizers “voluntarily implementing its first community standards program addressing issues including construction schedules, park closures, noise monitoring/impact, and traffic management.”

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that addresses many of the issues that have impacted Downtown Miami residents during previous Ultra events,” DNA President James Torres said. “We believe that this agreement will allow Ultra and its neighbors to coexist and will highlight Downtown Miami as “One Community for All,” and a great place to live, work and play.”

The DNA’s opposition towards Ultra has leaked onto city official’s desks in years past and even resulted in the temporary blackballing of the event in the city’s longtime event site of Bayfront Park. After the event was kicked out of its home site, organizers scrambled to find a temporary solution and relocated to Key Biscayne’s Virginia Key for one year.

Chief among all complaints from association members are the booming noises from the event’s stages. Members cited rattling cabinets and windows and felt that the setup and tear-down process of the event occupied the downtown area for too long.

“This development finally opens the door to establishing an ongoing working relationship between the parties, which was long overdue,” UMF spokesman Ray Martinez said. “Ultra’s leadership was privileged to work closely with local residents in striking the balance between accommodating local residential lifestyles and hosting large-scale and state-of-the-art music productions in Miami’s urban core.” 

Torres also mentioned that the pandemic gave the two sides the ability to step back and reassess the situation to find common ground for the possibility to coexist again.

Ultra Music Festival was scheduled to face an uphill battle in its return to Bayfront Park in 2020 before the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The event was postponed yet again this year and is slated to make its long-awaited return March 25-27, 2022.

The festival is touted as one of the largest outdoor music events in the world, with individuals flocking from all corners and ascending on one central location in Miami for a weekend of electronic/techno tunes. Any person who has attended the event would agree that standing among 100,000+ people on any given night for hours on end is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The dispute seems to have been settled with this peace treaty and will certainly open the doors for more Ultra Musical Festival events in the city’s Bayfront Park.

However, the event still faces a future license agreement with the city and must gain approval before it can stay for the foreseeable future.

“Ultra is realizing that they need to be a good neighbor,” said Miami Commissioner Ken Russell. “They’ve been willing to be for quite some time, but it’s really great to see all of the efforts culminate in an agreement that will allow us to move forward.”

It is still unclear what the safety precautions would be if the event successfully returns next March.

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