Ultra to South Beach? City commissioner proposes idea

Commissioner believes mass exodus that plagued Virginia Key wouldn't be issue

If one commissioner gets his way, Ultra Music Festival could be held in Miami Beach next year.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach commissioner wants to woo the Ultra Music Festival to the other side of Biscayne Bay.

Commissioner Ricky Arriola is proposing that the city enter into negotiations to host Ultra at Lummus Park in 2020.

A discussion on the matter is scheduled for May 22.

Ultra canceled its contract with the city of Miami earlier this month after transportation issues forced thousands of electronic music fans to trek across the Rickenbacker Causeway at the conclusion of the festival's opening night.

This was the first year Ultra was held on Virginia Key after moving from its longtime home in downtown Miami.

In a May 8 statement announcing that they were voluntarily terminating Ultra's contract with the city, organizers said the "festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough."

Arriola told Local 10 News reporter Janine Stanwood that he envisions Ultra setting up on the sand between 5th and 15th streets.

Unlike Virginia Key, Arriola said, there are various ways to get on and off the barrier island. He also doesn't believe there would be a mass exodus because there's more to do in South Beach than on Virginia Key.

Arriola's proposal comes with a caveat that "an adequate public safety, transportation and noise mitigation plan be provided."

"Inviting an established, well-organized event like Ultra for spring break 2020 will put heads in beds and serves as the counter-programming mechanism against the unorganized chaos that was spring break 2019 on Miami Beach," he wrote to the mayor and fellow commissioners.

Ultra actually spent its first two years in Miami Beach before moving to Bayfront Park in 2001.

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.