City of Miami votes to allow Ultra’s return to Bayfront Park in 2020

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City of Miami votes to allow Ultra’s return to Bayfront Park in 2020Martin Garri Ultra

Talk about a homecoming. In 2020, Ultra Music Festival will return to its iconic home at Miami’s Bayfront Park. The park has been the host venue for Ultra for more than half of the event’s existence, but after being forced out of Bayfront for a tumultuous 2019 outing at Virginia Key Beach Park, the event’s monolithic status on the festival circuit came into question for the first time in over two decades. A future return to Bayfront seemed even more unrealistic after Ultra voluntarily relinquished their license with the City of Miami earlier this year, to avoid any additional blow back from the Virginia Key event. However now, after lengthy discussions and debate among Miami’s City Commission, against all odds, Ultra is cleared to return to Bayfront Park in 2020.

On July 25, Miami’s city government officials voted 3-2 to allow Ultra Music Festival back to its beloved home, though, considerable financial and logistic stipulations must be met in order for Ultra to return to Miami. Shortly after voluntarily pulling out of Miami, rumors surfaced that Ultra had already honed in on a new venue in Homestead, likely at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Whether the news leak was an intentional bluff or not, it seems that the City of Miami was having second thoughts about giving Ultra the boot, and now, for better or worse, things are as they should be once again for Ultra Music Festival.

Miami commissioner seeks to expedite Ultra’s return to Bayfront Park

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Miami commissioner seeks to expedite Ultra’s return to Bayfront ParkUltra 2018 Mainstage ALIVE Coverage

Despite the tumultuous course of events in the past year between Ultra Music Festival and the city of Miami, there’s a slim chance that the hallmark US dance music event may return to its longtime stomping grounds in 2020.

Thanks to a proposal championed by the city’s Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Miami city officials will hold a meeting on June 27 to see if the relationship can be rectified. The proposal needs a decisive three out of five commissioners’ votes for approval. The new agreement would reinstate Ultra’s contract at Bayfront on a year-by-year basis; though, as the proposal states, commissioners would need a sweeping five-out-of-five vote to revoke its tenure should they seek to do so. The new proposal tightens operating capabilities for organizers, allowing only a month for set up and tear down, after a $2 million hosting fee is paid to the city. The event would also be hypothetically capped at 55,000 attendees, though that number is subject to change.

Ultra 2019 was stifled in part by tactical oversights, the most glaring being the lack of available transportation to and from the festival’s new housing on Virginia Key, as well as more-than-audible qualms from surrounding residents. According to the Miami Herald, Ultra reportedly still owes Miami payment from 2019’s Virginia Key iteration for fire and police services and waste disposal. If the new proposal is approved, Ultra would have until July 15 to pay the outstanding balance or reach an agreement with the city.

H/T: The Miami Herald

Frank Ocean giving away merch to voters

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Frank Ocean giving away merch to votersFrank

Frank Ocean giving away merch to votersFrank Ocean VotingFrank Ocean has announced pop-up shops in select cities that will give away free merchandise to individuals who arrive with proof that they voted on November 6.

A flyer posted to his Tumblr account states, “BRING PROOF (A BALLOT STUB) THAT YOU VOTED TO ANY OF THE LOCATIONS BELOW AND GET SOME FREE MERCH. BECAUSE GOD BLESS AMERICA.” The locations of the pop-ups are Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston. The cities are settled in swing states and the results could have historical outcomes. Stacey Abrams in Georgia would be America’s’s first female black governor. In Texas, Beto O’Rourke would be the first Democratic senator in Texas in more than two decades. Andrew Gillum would become Florida’s first black governor. The artist’s flyer also brings awareness to the “42 percent” — the percentage of Americans that don’t vote — otherwise known as America’s biggest political party.

On Twitter, Frank Ocean advised, “Make sure you double check your state laws regarding use of electronics at the polls before taking a photo. In some states it is illegal to do so.”

Though the divine right to vote in this democracy holds far more weight and value than any kind of merch, there’s no doubt that Frank Ocean’s encouragements and incentives are well-intentioned and extremely cool. As Frank Ocean says on the top of the flyer in seven languages to everyone who can, “VOTE.”

Senate to force vote on overturning recent net neutrality repeals

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To the dismay of millions of Americans, 2017 ended with the repeal of net neutrality laws that were set in place by the Obama Administration in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission. Artists and celebrities joined the droves of livid protesters, both online and in the streets to vocalize their outrage; meanwhile, the FCC poached “Harlem Shake” for a video intended to quell people’s tempers in what turned out to be one of the most cringe-worthy moments in a cringe-filled year.

America’s lawmakers are now finally catching up, as the Senate prepares to vote on possibly overturning the FCC’s recent decision. It’s a real long shot, but here’s how it came together, and theoretically, how it could proceed.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of the leading political voices of dissent against the FCC’s move, has garnered the support necessary (30 votes) to force a congressional vote under the guidelines of the Congressional Review Act alongside Senator Claire McCaskill . The Act allows Congress to negate recently-passed regulations with a simple majority.

Here’s the long shot. If the Senate debates, votes on, and eventually chooses to overturn the FCC’s ruling, the resolution goes to the House. If the resolution then passes in the House, it lands on Donald Trump’s desk for signature, which seems like the most unlikely component of the whole scenario. If the resolution does not pass on the Senate floor, there are other legal avenues to explore — individual states are already gearing up to implement local legislation that will combat the FCC’s regulations. In fact, with an upcoming Senate vote now officially underway, the fight to restore the Obama-era net regulations is now just getting started.


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