After getting kicked out of Miami’s Bayfront Park, where it had held court since 2001, Ultra Music Festival has been granted permission by Miami City Commissioners to relocate to Virginia Key Beach.
Despite protests from local residents and politicians including Key Biscayne Mayor Michael Davey, the commission voted 4-1 to allow Ultra to be held March 29-31, 2019 outside Marine Stadium and in Virginia Key Beach Park.
Previously, Rapture Electronic Music Festival had advertised its two-day 2019 edition over the same weekend on the same site. In response, Rapture organizers organized a No to Ultra petition the day before the hearing, to no avail.
While Commissioner Joe Carollo had argued vehemently for a flat $2 million payment, in the end Ultra promoters will pay the city of Miami $1.4 million to rent the key for the weekend. UMF also agreed to spend millions more on environmental safeguards and public safety.
In the process, deal sponsor Commissioner Keon Hardemon secured a commitment to dedicate half of the money from the first year toward the effort to build a long-desired African-American museum in Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.
In a statement City Manager Emilio Gonzalez said, “The City of Miami Commission’s vote in favor of an agreement with Ultra Music Festival keeps this world-renowned event in our global city, while providing operating funds for a long-desired African American History Museum at Historic Virginia Key Beach. We will continue to work with Ultra to ensure that our sacred natural resources are protected, and to mitigate any negative impacts to our residents.”
UMF’s full statement below.
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES RELOCATION TO VIRGINIA KEY AS NEW HOME
AGREEMENT REACHED WITH CITY OF MIAMI
Ultra Music Festival has announced its indefinite new home ahead of the monumental 21st edition, the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park. The world-renowned and internationally acclaimed event provided the message below, in a long-awaited statement to its fans:
‘We are excited to announce that the City of Miami has agreed to a deal to relocate Ultra Music Festival to the beautiful and historic Virginia Key. The new venue will allow the festival to evolve into its new, larger home, ultimately creating a more enjoyable experience for all festival attendees. We look forward to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with our partners at the City of Miami and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park as we commemorate keeping Ultra in the City of Miami.’
The new venue will permit an extended operating time until 2:00 A.M. and will provide the festival with an increased capacity. Attendees will also have vastly expanded space as compared to the former venue, Bayfront Park. Fans will also experience in-tandem staging at both the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and Miami Marine Stadium Flex Park, creating a wholly unique single event space.
Due to the cultural and historic significance of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park and given the unique environmental considerations associated with the park, Ultra Music Festival intends to take extraordinarily great care in its production and remediation approaches. Ultra understands that staging an event at Virginia Key means becoming the entrusted stewards of the environmental and historic elements of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.
Additionally the partnership will clear a path to accessing approximately $20 million that has been earmarked to build Miami-Dade County’s first African American Museum.
Ultra Music Festival looks forward to hosting fans from over 100 countries to close out Miami Music Week March 29-31, 2019.
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Image by Kathy Vitkus