Ultra Music Festival Loses Contract With Downtown Miami Venue

Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images
The crowd during the third day of Ultra Music Festival on March 26, 2017 in downtown Miami. 

After nearly two decades in downtown Miami, Ultra Music Festival, the city's most iconic and longest-running music festival, is out of a home. The now-international brand lost its bid for a five-year contract continuation with the City of Miami, which would have kept it in Bayfront Park. Tickets for the 2019 edition of the flagship festival went on sale the day before.

The final vote against the renewed contract was unanimous, according to the Miami New TimesIt followed what was reported as an ugly battle between two City of Miami Commissioners. Those in favor of ousting Ultra cited complaints made by downtown residents who find the festival's music too loud and unrelenting.

"When pro-Ultra speakers pointed out how long the festival has called Bayfront home," Miami New Times' Jose Duran writes, "Carollo retorted, 'That was a different Miami. The kind of music that Ultra plays is not the same as other venues where the music changes... It's thump, thump, thump.'"

Ultra isn't the only festival to find trouble at Bayfront. Popular hip-hop event Rolling Loud held its expanded festival at the venue in 2017 before leaving in 2018. There isn't a proposed replacement venue yet for the 20-year-old institution that made its home on the downtown waterfront for 18 years. 

On Friday, Sept. 28, Ultra responded to the news in a Facebook post. 

"There has been some confusion about the ramifications of today’s vote," it writes. "The vote today represents only a denial of certain terms of the current proposed 5-year contract, rather than the continued production of the overall festival itself." Ultra adds that the 2019 festival is still on as planned for the weekend of March 29 to 31.

Read more via Miami New Times and Ultra's full comment below.