Ultra bids beloved Arcadia Spider stage farewell for 2019 installment

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Ultra bids beloved Arcadia Spider stage farewell for 2019 installmentUltra Music Key Biscayne Resident Backlash

2019 will be a year of revision for Ultra Music Festival (UMF). The flagship festival of the international UMF brand, Ultra Miami will not only be facing changes of a locational kind. Ultra announced in November that it would host its 21st iteration at Virginia Key Beach Park, following the City of Miami Commission’s rejection of Ultra’s request for a contract renewal at its longtime home of Bayfront Park. As Ultra organizers prepare for a change of scenery, they’ve also quietly announced a series of major adjustments to the event’s organization. Ultra’s underground oriented RESISTANCE stage will occupy its own “island” within Virginia Key, while the festival’s UMF Radio, Ultra Worldwide, Live Arena, and Mainstages will remain clustered in another part of Virginia Key Beach Park, the Miami Marine Stadium.

In previous years, Ultra has spread its house and techno acts across its Megastructure and Arcadia Spider stages, but appears to have abandoned the Arcadia Spider stage this year. The Spider is notably not listed among the many stages that Ultra will run in 2019 in any of the promotional material that event organizers have disseminated to date. Ultra’s ASOT stage will return to carry on its legacy at Virginia Key, and will be flanked by Martin Garrix‘s STMPD Records stage, Richie Hawtin‘s PLAYdifferently, and ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective stages, which round out Ultra’s collection of branded areas. It currently remains unclear whether Ultra will replace the Spider with a novel new stage, to restore the sixth stage that the festival loses in the Spider. Although the fate of Ultra’s sixth stage is suspended in uncertainty, the caliber of the first phase of the festival’s lineup is assuredly one of Ultra’s finest.

H/T: EDM Tunes

Miami City Council votes in favor of Ultra Music Festival move to Virginia Key

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Miami City Council votes in favor of Ultra Music Festival move to Virginia KeyUltra 2018 Mainstage ALIVE Coverage

In late September, news surfaced that Ultra Music Festival had been booted from its longtime home at Bayfront Park. It didn’t take long for the event organizers to propose a new host venue about ten minutes away on Virginia Key, and on November 15, the Miami City Council brought the proposal to an official vote. Even amid contentious opposition from Rapture Music Festival and residents of Key Biscayne, the vote passed — officially moving Ultra to a new home for the first time since 2001.

After more than three hours of heated deliberation, Miami Marine Stadium and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Virginia Key became the new host venue for Ultra Music Festival. The vote ended 4-1 in favor of the move, though the decision ultimately came down to two council members on the edge of a “yes” vote. The two year deal does include some contingencies — there’s the possibility of revocation within 60 days after the 2019 festival if certain circumstances occur. What’s more, Ultra has to pay $2 million to the city of Miami in order to sell up to 60,000 tickets to the festival.

But perhaps the grass will be greener in Virginia Key as Ultra opens a new chapter in the festival’s illustrious history. We’ll see come March, 2019.

Photo credit: EDMkevin.com / Kevin Verkruijssen

Ultra responds to being booted from Miami’s Bayfront Park

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Ultra responds to being booted from Miami’s Bayfront ParkUltra Umf Rukes

After the Sept. 27 announcement from Miami City Commission that Ultra Music Festival would no longer be allowed in Bayfront Park, the festival has issued a statement in response.

In a Facebook post published hours after the announcement, festival organizers said they’re “disappointed” with the outcome of the decision, but that they’re working on “establishing a resolution that works for everyone.” Organizers also took time in the post to clear the air about some of the decision’s ramifications, noting that the vote “represents only a denial of certain terms of the current proposed five-year contract, rather than the continued production of the overall festival itself.”

Ultra has taken place in Miami for the past 18 years, but continued complaints from area residents of over the years have caused the issue to be taken up with the Miami City Commission. Though it remains unclear where the festival will take place next year, it appears from this announcement that festival-goers can remain hopeful that the organizers will concoct a solution.

Photo credit: Rukes

Miami city commissioner to Ultra Music Festival: pay $2M annual fee to city to renew Bayfront Park contract, or relocate

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Ultra Music Festival organizers will face a steep price tag if they wish to keep Miami’s veteran music event in its longtime location of Bayfront Park in the years to come.

The Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA) circulated a petition in July 2017 that called on Miami’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to return access to Bayfront Park — DNA residents’ “neighborhood park” — to downtown Miami locals. “Since the beginning of 2017, Bayfront Park has been closed to the public or in a state of disrepair for over 100 days because of mega-concerts like Ultra and Rolling Loud,” the document read. The petition surpassed 1,100 signatures when it reached the hands of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo.

Now, the feud between downtown Miami dwellers and large scale Bayfront Park hosted music events like Ultra Music Festival will come to a head as Carollo presents UMF orchestrators with a financially oriented ultimatum: pay $2 million annual payments to the agency that oversees Bayfront Park, or take Ultra elsewhere.

UMF organizers’ previous contract permitted the festival to occupy Bayfront for a five-year period. In exchange, Ultra Music Festival paid the city of Miami a sum comprised of a usage fee and a ticket surcharge that was then tacked onto the cost of each individual UMF admission cost. The city collected an average of about $663,000 from UMF over the five-year stretch, notably enjoying an elevated profit of $742,000 in 2018. Given that Ultra’s contract expired in 2018, festival organizers will need to make swift and strategic moves if they plan to keep Bayfront Park as Ultra’s home location.

While Miami residents like Rev. Pedro Martinez continue to call upon city officials like Carollo to ‘stop the prostitution of the park to multiple events,’ Ultra lobbyist Ray Martinez reiterates the global value inherent in the festival that, in many ways, put Miami on the musical map. ‘Let’s look at the positives,’ Ray Martinez said, ‘We talk about Miami wanting to be a world-class city. Ultra is a world-class event. It is the Art Basel of electronic music.’

Rolling Loud is also expected to face steep fees if it seeks to return to the park in future years of festival production. Neither Ultra nor Rolling Loud have commented on the recent contract related complications.

Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage

H/T: Miami Herald

Ultra Miami announces 2019 dates, return to Bayfront Park

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Photo credit: aLIVE Coverage.

Despite mounting resistance to Ultra Music Festival‘s beloved location by downtown residents, the powerhouse organizing body behind UMF has secured its return to Miami’s Bayfront Park, March 29–31, 2019. The announcement, along with official dates, came via the festival guides handed out to attendees of the 2018 event.

Given the past petition attempt to boot the dance music festival from the heart of downtown Miami — a feature which is perhaps UMF’s biggest draw — their 2019 return to Bayfront Park is a major win for Ultra Miami. Ultimately, the City of Miami, who met late last year, ruled in favor of keeping the event at it’s home on the basis that UMF brings $79 million in commerce to South Florida. This past Friday, Ultra even hosted city commissioner, Ken Russell, to show just how much of an asset the festival is to Miami. Too big to fail, may be the correct term of phrase to use for Ultra.

Photo credit: Rukes

City of Miami Commissioners meet to decide fate of Bayfront Park-based music events

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The setting of large scale Miami-based music festivals, Ultra Music Festival and Rolling Loud, is subject to change following the City of Miami’s recent “Sunshine Meeting” on December 15. A response to the petition prepared earlier in the year by The Miami Downtown Neighbors Alliance, the “Sunshine Meeting” united Miami Commissioners to meet to discuss the future schedule of events situated at Bayfront Park, including whether annual events like Ultra and Rolling Loud would be permitted to continue to use the venue.

The Miami Downtown Neighbors Alliance garnered more than 1,154 signatures on its Change.org based petition, which expressed Downtown Miami residents’ collective desire to have “daily access” to Bayfront Park, locals’ “neighborhood park.” Residents complained that the park had alternatively been closed to the public more often than it was open, the park “…in a state of disrepair for over 100 days because of mega-concerts like Ultra and Rolling Loud,” according to petitioners. The petition proposed a uniform ban on all music-related events in Bayfront Park.

The City of Miami has yet to make a formal announcement regarding its decision to either permit such music oriented events to continue to find their foothold in Bayfront Park, or to conversely oust the events altogether. A statement should soon arrive from City Commissioners, the content of which will undoubtedly prove impactful in the landscape of Miami music productions.

H/T: EDM Sauce


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