Rapture Music Festival 2018
Photo Credit: Rapture Music Festival

The Founders of Rapture Music Festival have spoken out in opposition to the potential relocation of Ultra Music Festival to Virginia Key in 2019.


Earlier this fall, the Miami City Commission unanimously voted to kick Ultra Music Festival out of their longstanding home at Bayfront Park in the downtown area. Happening just after the tickets for the 2019 edition of UMF went on sale, it has kept potential attendees from purchasing passes and sent the organizers on a search for a new home.

With other venues being locked up already, the Ultra team set their sights on Virginia Key as a potential new home for the renowned three-day festival next year. This announcement was met with backlash from the community, with Key Biscayne Mayor-Elect Mike Davey, the Village of Key Biscayne, and Brickell Homeowners all speaking out against the relocation over the past few weeks.

The potential move would also cause a conflict with the two-day house and techno-focused Rapture Music Festival.

Set to be hosted on March 29 – 30, Rapture Music Festival had already locked in a contract for 2019 with Historic Virginia Key Beach Park that was signed after their successful event this year. Today, the founders of Rapture Music Festival, Youssef Khamis and Misha Varum, have sent the members of the media an official statement regarding their opposition to Ultra Music Festival’s proposal.

In the statement that can be found below, they highlight the past successes they’ve had with the music festival, as well as their commitment to Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. On Thursday, November 15th at 9am, the Miami City Commission will vote at City Hall, so stay tuned as this story continues to develop.

Official Statement from the Rapture Music Festival Founders:

Rapture Music Festival has successfully held two editions on consecutive years 2017 and 2018 at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park (HVKBP). We are strongly opposed to Ultra Music Festival’s proposal to relocate to HVKBP as we currently have a signed contract with the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust for March 29 and March 30, 2019 and we’re very much looking forward to returning to this beautiful beachside setting for our third edition with our fans.

The intention is for Rapture Music Festival to be held at HVKBP for the next two years consecutively (2019-2020) with continued community support and successful local partnerships with Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Police, Village of Key Biscayne, the City of Miami – Office of Film & Entertainment, Fire-Rescue and additional stakeholders.

Due to the past success of the last two years, Rapture has already expanded its plans to two days for its third edition and will continue to combine electronic music with environmental education and wellness activities on March 29 & 30, 2019.

We launched Rapture at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park with a goal to bring an environmentally conscious festival to Miami that combined a world-class music lineup while also educating attendees about ocean conservation, sustainability, as well as health and wellness. We’ve been an environmentally-friendly festival from day one and because of this, we’ve attracted mature fans with a passion for the environment, quality music and art. We’re incredibly proud to have put on two successful festivals that saw us work tirelessly alongside park and city officials, conservationists, and residents to ensure the preservation of one of Miami’s natural treasures as well as minimizing our impact on those residing in the area. Through limiting our use of single use plastic and enforcing a strict Leave No Trace policy, within a week of the festival breakdown, there was no sign whatsoever that we had been there.

As we look to 2019, we wish to further our commitment to the protection and care of HVKBP by continuing to work with like-minded partners to ramp up our waste reduction efforts and expand our conservation programming. Our track record is proof that we’ve taken the responsibility of being entrusted with the park and the precious wildlife residing there seriously and we will absolutely do so once again for our third edition.

With over 7,000 attendees and six stages in 2018, we hosted some of electronic music’s biggest names such as Luciano, Chris Liebing, Guy Gerber, Hernan Cattaneo and RPR Soundsystem. An additional 436,000+ fans worldwide watched live video streams of our music performances in 2018. Each year, our alternative music festival continues to diversify its offerings while staying true to its focus on music, ocean conservation and wellness programming.

Rapture’s Wellness Lounge offered workshops designed to reinvigorate the soul and rejuvenate the mind, with wellness activations and mini-sessions in accessing consciousness bars, chakra balancing, light therapy, massage therapy, meditation, reiki, sound healing, tribal body painting, tropical flow yoga, and esoteric arts taught by some of the world’s finest spiritualists.

Last year’s partnerships with ocean conservationists The Big Blue & You, as well as Ocean Generation saw the festival enact a total plastic straw ban on-site as well as host a volunteer beach clean up, live ocean mural painting and a conservation educational booth. With the help of these organizations that share our vision, Rapture will continue to stress the importance of environmental activism and education around preserving the world’s natural ecosystems like Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.

Youssef Khamis – Founder and CEO

Misha Varum – Founder and CFO


Connect with Rapture Music Festival on Social Media:

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Grant has been listening to electronic dance music since the early 2000s. Actively involved in the EDM community, Grant is an admin for the EDC & Coachella subreddits and their Facebook groups. Previously he has been part of several EDM startups and promotion companies such as Shamele55, Electric State of Mind and Q-Dance. Originally listening to trance artists such as ATB, Armin Van Buuren and Paul Oakenfold, Grant has expanded his listening experience to include a full set of genres ranging from hardstyle to deep house and has been regularly attending both festivals and club events since 2010.

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