After a month and a half of uncertainty and a calculated smear campaign, Ultra Music Festival has a new Miami home.
‘We are excited to announce that the City of Miami has agreed to a deal to relocate Ultra Music Festival to the beautiful and historic Virginia Key,” the festival says in a press release statement. “The new venue will allow the festival to evolve into its new, larger home, ultimately creating a more enjoyable experience for all festival attendees. We look forward to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with our partners at the City of Miami and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park as we commemorate keeping Ultra in the City of Miami.”
According to a report by the Miami New Times, the City of Miami Commission approved UMF’s move to Virginia Key, but it comes with a caveat. The festival agreed to pay $2 million to occupy the historic area’s Miami Marine Stadium and Virginia Key Beach Park, most of which will go toward the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust.
Commissioner Joe Carollo felt the move was rushed and would have preferred Ultra to pay $3 million. Carollo adds that, should the event not meet his standards for alleviating community disruption and insuring environmental protections, he would be quick to revoke its occupation privileges for 2020.
Ultra’s fate hung in limbo after the Miami City Commission failed to renew its Bayfront Park leasing contract. For nearly 20 years, the festival was held in downtown Miami proper. Residents who since moved into new condominiums surrounding Bayfront Park complained about loud noise and traffic during the festival’s three-day runs each March, which led to in-fighting among the Commissioners and the inability to unanimously approve a renewal.
The new location sits a 15 minute drive south of Bayfront Park. Traffic is still a concern, given that only one road connects Virginia Key to the Miami mainland. The move will allow Ultra to expand its capacity, a first in nearly two decades, and extend its curfew from midnight to 2 a.m. Ultra has committed itself to environmental promises, like banning plastic straws and restricting beach access to attendees. It has also promised to donate a portion of operational funds to building Miami-Dade County’s first African American Museum on Virginia Key.