MIAMI – Electronic music fans could start invading Virginia Key once a year if Ultra Music Festival organizers get their way.
They are negotiating with city officials to move the annual event from downtown Miami to the historic public beach park. The next festival is March 29-31, and it has attracted anywhere from 150,000 to 330,000 people from all over the world to Miami for nearly two decades.
In September, commissioners voted unanimously to not host it at Bayfront Park, where residents from the surrounding condominium buildings were complaining about the traffic and the noise. Biscayne Boulevard was usually closed to accommodate the crowd.
Unlike the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance, which is also held at the beach park in February, the Ultra Music Festival organizers envision the use of the Miami Marine Stadium, which was damaged in 1992 and has been undergoing renovations. It has a capacity for about 6,560 people.
According to Eugene Ramirez, the City of Miami spokesman, commissioners will be discussing the issue on Nov. 15. Commissioner Keon Hardemon is sponsoring a resolution to enter into a use agreement with Event Entertainment Group, Inc.
UMF organizers could face some opposition from residents of the village of Key Biscayne, who would have to share the Rickenbacker Causeway with the electronic music fans.
Key Biscayne residents have also had to share the causeway once a year during the Miami Open tennis tournament, which is held March 18-31 and will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens next year.