Dance music fans were shocked in late September to hear that Ultra Music Festival lost its contract with downtown Miami. For nearly 20 years, the international brand’s flagship event was held in one of the city of Miami’s parks on Biscayne Bay, specifically in Bayfront Park since 2012. Now, Ultra has its eyes on a new home about a 15-minute drive south of its Bayfront hub, but it still has to convince the city.
Dance music fans may be familiar with Virginia Key as the home of Rakastella, a smaller-scale house and techno event held annually during Art Basel celebrations in December. According to a report by the Miami New Times, Ultra’s founders would occupy both Virginia Key Beach Park and its neighboring Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park. The new space would of course offer Ultra Miami a chance for complete redesign.
“While we are, of course, excited about the current proposal,” Ultra co-founder Russell Faibisch says in a press release, “this potential partnership represents so much more than Ultra’s impact on either South Florida or on the development of innovative production elements.”
The Miami City Commission is set to hear Ultra’s proposal during a public hearing Nov. 15. Part of UMF’s proposal includes a clause to donate a portion of operation funds to building Miami-Dade County’s first African American Museum on Virginia Key.
The Commission voted not to renew UMF’s downtown contract the day after tickets for the 2019 event went on sale. Virginia Key would remove the festival from residential areas, alleviating complaints that the downtown festival was too loud, although the island’s singular access point could present its own transportation issues.
Billboard Dance reached out to Ultra’s team for comment. Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops.