Ultra Music Festival and Miami PD unveil comprehensive security plan ahead of 20th anniversary

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Ultra Music Festival‘s 20th anniversary will not only mark a milestone for the festival organizers — heralded as the opening electronic event to the 2018 festival season, the Miami based festival will help to set the security standards for the various large scale productions to follow Ultra’s birthday celebration.

Many festivals have taken measures to strengthen their security protocols after the mass shooting that occurred during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in October 2017, and Ultra Music Festival has followed suit. The festival will enforce a clear-bag policy in an effort to easily identify, and thus prevent drugs, firearms, and other weapons from entering the festival grounds. As in previous years, Ultra will additionally place amnesty boxes in the areas around security checkpoints to allow attendees to anonymously forfeit illicit materials to the police, sans penalty.

Ultra Chief of Security Ray Martinez held a press conference earlier this month on the security related precautions that the festival will take to ensure a safe experience for all ticket holders. “We’re always concerned,” Martinez said, “Fortunately Miami Police Department is a premiere law enforcement, and they put together some tactics and plans to guard against [another mass shooting] and try to prevent anything from happening.”

The Miami Police Department has since hosted a similar press conference, during which police officials addressed concerns regarding a shooting similar in style to that of Route 91. The grounds of the Route 91 festival and Ultra Music Festival are likened by their layout; both are surrounded by various high-rise hotels that offer views overlooking the respective events. Miami New Times reports that the recent press conference’s audience “was shown a view of the skyscrapers surrounding Bayfront Park.” Each tower has been assigned a number. Police will use the numbers to rapidly locate a “hypothetical gunman” in the event of an attempted shooting, according to the local Miami news source.

SWAT teams will also be present during Ultra’s operation, in addition to more than 300 police officers, a “full quarter of the city’s force.” Miami officers will actively assess suspicious activity in the broader downtown Miami area via “virtual policing,” an approach that enables police to send out instant photos of individuals sought by the force via the hundreds of cameras that are stationed in downtown Miami.

Miami police are also attuned to potential vehicle threats, and will use Formula E racing fences as barriers to enclose the festival grounds. The racing fences are rated for their sustainability against collisions.

Miami Police Commander Freddie Cruz emphasized the importance of awareness. “If you see something, say something,” Cruz said. “Anything in these buildings, anything suspicious, remember, call 911.”

H/T: Miami Herald

Grammy Awards to pay tribute to Vegas shooting victims

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Last October’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas left 59 people dead, marking it the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

On Jan. 18, the Recording Academy announced that they will pay tribute to those killed at the festival in a unique way. During this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony Jan. 28 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, three of the performers from the October festival will play during the awards show. Brothers Osborne, Maren Morris, and Eric Church will pay tribute victims of gun violence with performances during the televised event.

Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow noted the uniting power of music in the announcement.

“Live music events have always provided a safe space for fans to gather in a shared celebration of music,” he says. “We believe it’s incredibly important to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in these senseless tragedies and to remind musicians and music lovers alike that live music will continue to be a powerful force that unites us all.”