Before you get your Ultra Miami 2020 tickets and buy the best rave shoes in existence, you might want to see where the venue is going first. Even if you’ve never attended this grandiose music festival, its unique experience makes it one of the most talked-about events in the U.S.
To understand why next year is going to be such a big deal for Ultra, let us recap where it all began, what happened, and what they are doing to make a strong comeback.
How it All Started
Ever since its inauguration in 1999, Miami has always been a home to the Ultra Music Festival. Their first location was Collins Park on Miami Beach, with an estimated 10 thousand concertgoers in attendance. The event proved to be a success and renewed for many years to come.
Due to the massive increase of attendees, Ultra relocated to Bayfront Park. It became one of the most celebrated names of EDM in Miami – except for 2006 to 2011. Due to the incredible number of attendees in the seventh edition Ultra Music Festival in 2005, the festival relocated to Bicentennial Park.
When the Miami Art Museum was going under construction, the Ultra Music Festival returned to Bayfront Park for its fourteenth edition in 2012. The event has taken place there ever since, until their license was revoked, of course.
Security Breaches and Resident Complaints
The event grew into an economic boon for hotels and local businesses, but not everyone was welcoming. Residents held a long-lasting protest against the festival due to noise complaints, littering, and limited access to Bayfront before and after the event.
“People just trash the streets … cigarettes, and water bottles. They have no respect,” said Brooke Berns, who lives across from Bayfront Park.
In the 2014 edition, a rowdy mob of ticketless fans crashed the gate in hopes of gaining unauthorized entry, trampling security guard Erica Mack in the process. The victim was hospitalized in Jackson Memorial Hospital for severe brain hemorrhaging and a broken leg.
Ultra 2019 Edition
On September 2018, Miami commissioners voted unanimously against the festival to be hosted at Bayfront Park, due to continuous noise complaints and other concerns from residents.
In 2019, Key Biscayne Mayor-Elect Michael Davey stated that hosting Ultra would result in “environmental destruction, noise and an increase in alcohol and drug-related violence.” The video was created to turn members of the community against Ultra being hosted in Virginia Key.
The 2019 edition of the event relocated to Virginia Key with less-than-ideal outcomes. Festival-goers complained of a deficient shuttle system, which left thousands of attendees stranded. Many had to walk several miles for alternate transportation.
In July, after much consideration, commissioners accepted Ultra back with open arms and agreed to make exceptions to the park’s rules for huge events only for Ultra. While residents are upset with the decision, the festival has an economic impact similar to the Super Bowl.
Ultra Has Yet to Sign Contracts for 2020 Event
It’s been four months since Ultra Music Festival announced its return to Bayfront Park. It’s also another four months until the big event, but the organizers have not made any official agreements with the city.
According to the Miami Herald, city administrators and the organizers of the event have yet to sign the licensing agreement to allow the three-day festival to happen in the downtown waterfront. On top of needing licensing, once the contract is completed, there are deadlines for the permits, payments, and plans for traffic management.
Miami administrators have not commented on why the contract hasn’t been completed, despite it being discussed for a large portion of the year. They state that they are “actively working on finishing up the agreement.”
Phase One of 2020 Lineup
In the meantime, tickets are available, and the organizers have revealed their first lineup, showing the event is coming back full force. Big names in the EDM world are showing up, including Carl Cox, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Amelie Lens, Major Lazer, Flume, and many more. Ultra Music Festival 2020 takes place 20-22 March in Miami, Florida.