After 21 years, Ultra Music Festival ends its relationship with Miami.
The festival announced it had voluntarily terminated its license with the City of Miami in an open letter to fans posted to Twitter. The news comes after the festivals plagued attempt at a move to Virginia Key in lat March of this year. Ultra’s letter says it is “now finalizing a new South Florida location.”
Ultra’s Miami troubles began in 2018, a few months following its celebrator 20th-anniversary edition. The City of Miami failed to renew the festival’s contract, effectively kicking it out of its downtown home of Bayfront Park after nearly two decades. Those opposed to Ultra’s presence cited traffic issues and noise complaints from downtown residents, but those issues were nothing compared to the problems that arose from a move to Virginia Key.
The move was confirmed and organized a mere four months before Ultra opened its gates in late March. Virginia Key is an island connected to mainland Miami by a single highway. A lack of organization left nearly 60,000 attendees stranded on the island as free shuttle services were overwhelmed and soon suspended. Ticket holders complained about walking two-and-a-half miles across the Rickenbacker Causeway at 2 in the morning, jokingly comparing Ultra to the infamous Fyre Festival.
“Throughout the years of Ultra’s existence, our top priority has always been to offer you the best possible festival experience,” Ultra states. “After listening to feedback from many of you (including 20,000 fans who took our post-even 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 that are not working.”
Ultra began its 21-year history with a one-day event on Miami Beach in 1999. By 2019, it had become a three-day event hosting touring DJs, live bands and producers from around the world. No word yet on how this will effect the recently-acquired Winter Music Conference, nor where or when Ultra will make its new home, though it aims to make the next move a permanent one. Billboard Dance reached out to Ultra for comment. Read the open letter in full below.
A letter to our fans… pic.twitter.com/m0DkoUWdBU
— Ultra Music Festival (@ultra) May 8, 2019