After getting booted from the Bayfront Park venue in Miami, the search for Ultra Music Festival’s new home may lead them to Virginia Key.
In a stunning move last month, the Miami Commission unanimously voted down the contract for Ultra Music Festival to return to Bayfront Park in 2019. Rejecting the offer amidst mixed public opinion and a political grudge match, it came as a shock to many that the day had finally come for UMF to find a new home in the area once again.
Since that news broke, the city of Miami and Ultra Music Festival organizers have been quietly discussing exploring potential options to keep the festival in the city. First reported by the Miami Herald, the latest solution that seems to have surfaced would be moving Ultra Miami to be hosted at the same site as the Miami International Boat Show, near the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key.
When asked about the new current proposal, Ultra co-founder and CEO Russell Faibisch stated, “While we are, of course, excited about the current proposal, this potential partnership represents so much more than Ultra’s impact on either South Florida or on the development of innovative production elements.”
How they will accomplish hosting Ultra Music Festival at this venue will be another hurdle to overcome.
Ultra organizers have stated that they intend on using two separate areas of the island “in-tandem” for the duration of the festival, taking over the Miami Marine Stadium and the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. While this potential new home is still in the idea phase, the distance between the two spaces alone is over a mile in length which could prove to be a problem for many attendees.
Additionally, a solution would have to be found to accommodate the massive influx of people moving to the venue each day. With no hotels on site, limited parking, and only a two-lane bridge that connects the island to the rest of Miami, it could turn the festival into a logistical nightmare.
Commissioner Ken Russell also offered up his thoughts on the potential contract as well with the concerns from the Key Biscayne residents looming. “I recognize the value of this event to local businesses and hotels as well as the global music scene,” he said. “If Virginia Key is the proposal, I will keep an open mind but am very conscious of the sensitivities with regard to the environment, traffic and our neighbors on Key Biscayne.”
Having already sold tickets for the 2019 edition of Ultra Music Festival, the clock is ticking as the search for a new venue continues.
A vote on the potential contract is slated for November 15 and was placed on the preliminary agenda due to public noticing requirements. The financial details have not been finalized and a competitive bidding law would have to be waived to approve it as well, but Ultra’s organizers have stated it is still a work in progress and that they are confident the contract will be finalized in time for the vote.
Stay tuned for more details as this story develops.