Ultra Music Festival to return to Miami's Bayfront Park

Commissioners vote 3-2 in favor of hosting event in 2020

The Ultra Music Festival could be making a comeback to downtown Miami if some Miami commissioners have their way. The issue is being discussed at Thursday night's commission meeting.

MIAMI – The annual Ultra Music Festival pulled its own plug after its move to Virginia Key in March, and it's officially moving back to Bayfront Park.

Miami commissioners voted 3-2 to allow the festival to return to downtown Miami, despite some criticism about the event at Thursday night's commission meeting.

"This neighborhood is no longer compatible," Miami resident George Pelonious said. "The only green space we have downtown is completely blocked off from all the taxpayers who live there."

The money and panache of the iconic Miami-born global music festival is still a lure.

"It generates business in rooms, restaurants and bars," a woman from InterContinental Miami said.

"It's beautiful to have 60,000 people from all over the world coming together to celebrate in your city," another woman said.

But the former head of the Park Trust was not happy with having Bayfront Park as an option again for Ultra.

"I've never seen something like this. This is absurd," Commissioner Joe Carollo said.

The trust now has rules placing limits on private events held at Bayfront Park.

"We would need to waive that in order to allow for Ultra at this point. And I don't think we should. I think we should work within the parameters that we set," Commissioner Ken Russell said.

Carollo and Russell, who represents downtown Miami residents, were the only two commissioners who voted against bringing Ultra back to Bayfront Park.

Miami city commissioners narrowly approved the return of the major music event.

Some residents who heard of the announcement agreed Virginia Key may have not been the best place for Ultra.

"They couldn't get any Ubers there, all the shuttles weren't working. The logistics were not planned out as they could’ve been," downtown Miami resident Victor Garcia said.

Some were thrilled with the festival's return to Bayfront Park.

"I am pretty stoked," downtown Miami resident Jay Hertz said. "I live right over there, so it is just a block away."

Others know what it will bring with it.

"The residents, they don't like the sound," Garcia said. "It is bumping, bumping even inside of your apartment room."

"I think there is always going to be people bothered by it, but it is just a matter of understanding that it is just a part of Miami," Hertz said.

Commissioners still need to waive the new rules at the park that limit private events.

Ultra is offering to limit hours and decibel levels during its multiday festival.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.