Miami's Ultra Music Festival Is Now 18 & Up
Move comes after drug-related death & security guard hospitalization at 2014 fest.
After an unfortunate season of drug-related tragedies and behavioral arrests, EDM festivals may have reached a turning point. On Tuesday (Sept. 2), Miami's Ultra Music Festival announced that it is no longer all-ages. The next installment takes place on March 27–29, 2015, and will require attendees to be at least 18 years old.
Pre-registration for next year's fest begins Sept. 15 and tickets will go on sale later this year. It typically sells out.
"While we sincerely value the incredible ongoing support from our younger fans, we ultimately believe that Ultra Music Festival is a premium event geared towards adults," said the festival's organizers in a statement on Tuesday. "This decision has been made to reinforce and promote the safety of all Ultra Music Festival fans and to ensure the overall enjoyment of all future attendees."
The festival made headlines earlier this year when a 28-year-old security guard was hospitalized after being trampled by a crowd of ticket-holders who attempted to gate-crash into the grounds. After the incident, the city's mayor, Tomas Regelado, and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff tried to have the festival banned from downtown Miami, but in April, the Miami City Commission voted 4-1 to let the event stick around another year as long as it seriously ramped up security and surveillance.
The heightened security efforts will be helmed by Ultra's new security director, Ray Martinez, who formerly served as the Miami Beach Police chief. "We have chosen to adopt several new measures during next year's festival to ensure our event is safe and secure," Martinez said in the release. "The first step to preserving the unique atmosphere that Ultra is famous for is to be proactive in attracting the right crowd."
As one of America's longest-running electronic music festivals, Ultra is largely viewed as an industry trend-setter. It routinely draws the biggest names in dance music and last year sold around 165,000 tickets each day. In 2013, it expanded to two weekends, both of which sold out, before it downsized back to one weekend this year. The festival has also begun throwing sister festivals around the world, including the inaugural Ultra South Africa in February. At the end of this month, Tokyo will host the first Ultra Japan. It is sold out.