Miami City Commission Offers Ultra Festival a License for Return to Bayfront Park

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David Guetta performs on stage at Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park on March 25, 2018 in Miami.  

After kicking Ultra Music Festival's flagship event out of its longtime downtown home, the Miami City Commission has authorized the city manager to offer the event a license to return to Bayfront Park. It's a surprise development in an ongoing drama that began nearly a year ago when that same panel unceremoniously revoked the 21-year-old event's license to operate just one day after UMF began selling tickets for its 2019 edition. This latest offer is "subject to review and approval by the City Attorney."

In September of 2018, the commission cited residential noise and traffic complaints. Ultra soon secured a controversial license to operate its 2019 festival on the island of Virginia Key, about a 15 to 20-minute drive south of Bayfront Park. The resulting festival this March was poorly-organized, leading to more traffic congestion than ever and many complaints from neighbors and attendees. In May of this year, Ultra announced it would not return to Virginia Key (about the same time its license to operate there was also to be revoked), agreeing that Ultra 2019's event "was simply not good enough."

Ultra then announced that it would move its 2020 flagship event to a new location outside the City of Miami's jurisdiction, but now, the Miami City Commission has changed its tune. Tuesday's resolution acknowledges the event's economic and cultural impact on the city throughout its 21 years. The resolution states:

"The Licensee has previously staged the Event at the Property between 2013 and 2018, during which time the Licensee expended substantial resources toward the direct promotion and marketing of the City; and whereas, since 2012, the Event has generated approximately $995 million of economic impact, generating $168 million and creating 1,834 jobs in 2018 alone."

The resolution continues that the license is not set for any fixed term and is revocable at the City's will without consent from Ultra.

Ultra Music Festival 2020 is set to return March 27 to 29.