Ultra Music Festival will not return to Miami, organizers say

New South Florida location eyed for massive electronic music event

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor
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MIAMI - The Ultra Music Festival announced Wednesday that organizers will no longer hold the event in Miami after transportation problems plagued this year’s festival in Virginia Key.

"After listening to feedback from many of you (including over 20,000 fans who took our post-event survey), it is clear that the festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough," organizers said in a statement.

The organizers said they have voluntarily terminated their license with the city of Miami. They said they are finalizing a new location in South Florida but did not disclose the venue.

“We have been approached by many interested parties over the years with offers to host the festival at some very unique and impressive locales,” the organizers said. “One of these, however, has shined far above the others, and we look forward to making our home there for many years to come.”

Organizers said the location announcement along with information about ticket prices for next year’s festival will be made soon.

Ultra had been held for years in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami, but this year the event moved to Virginia Key because of opposition from Miami Comissioner Joe Carollo, who also is the chairman of the Bayfront Park Management Trust.

However, the transition was not a smooth one. Thousands of music fans had to walk for miles to leave the Virginia Key venue on the festival's opening night, causing huge traffic delays. On nights two and three of the festival, organizers were able to avoid the opening night's problems by adding more shuttle buses and adjusting schedules.

The transportation breakdown was just one problem for Ultra in Virginia Key. Local residents were vocal about not wanting the event held on the island, saying they were concerned about the noise level and the environmental effects of such large festival.

Late Wednesday, some local leaders were already celebrating the decision.

"Great news: The Mayor of Miami called me a few minutes ago to advise me that Ultra Music Festival is relocating out of Virginia Key. This is an early birthday present for me! God acts in mysterious ways," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez whose district includes Virginia Key. He is the father of Mayor Francis X. Suarez.

However, not everyone is cheering. The music festival could cost the city millions of dollars in economic impact. Ultra attracted more than 100,000 attendees each year and as one of the top electronic music festivals in the world gave, it help portray Miami as a trendy, international destination for young people.

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