Ultra Music Festival’s prized location, Bayfront Park, may be in jeopardy. Due to persistent complaints by locals about noise and the lack of availability to the public, the agency that covers Bayfront Park is demanding $2 million to host the electronic music festival. The person behind this new price tag is Commissioner Joe Carollo, who serves to the agency, and is chairman of the Bayfront Park Management Trust. It is a bit of an odd move considering how much money the park already brings in. Over the course of the latest five-year contract, the city of Miami averaged about $663,000, and $742,000 in 2018.

Carollo is very much trying to use locals to make his political point. He invited 30 downtown residents to Thursday’s commission meeting. The locals were seen wearing hats with “Save Bayfront Park” in green lettering, and the residents pleaded with the city to fund the park and limit the number of events which are closed to the general public.

Rev. Pedro Martinez, who lives across from Bayfront Park said “The city of Miami needs its central park to function as it was assigned, as a park to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors.” Martinez continued:  “Let’s stop the prostitution of the park to multiple events.” 

Ultra lobbyist Ray Martinez responded, telling commissioners he personally speaks with concerned neighbors. “Let’s look at the positives. We talk about Miami wanting to be a world-class city. Ultra is a world-class event,” he said. “It is the Art Basel of electronic music.” Ray Martinez also added that festival organizers have provided a complaint hotline. Residents in Bayfront will be able to report issues and adjust buildup and tear-down schedules to better accommodate residents.

It seems that Ultra overcomes any obstacle thrown at them and this one will be no different. They are continuing business as usual by announcing that next Wednesday, June 6, Ultra will be selling a limited amount of early bird tickets for 2019. Ultra is very much a contested issue for downtown Miami locals. Some love it, some hate it. However, despite emotions and controversies, the show continues and Miami sees a large amount of tourist and money in the process. We will have to wait and see what comes out of this. I would wager to see that this semi-autonomous agency that oversees Bayfront Park will crack and agree to less money just like the contracts prior. With that being said, I’m sure Ultra has all of their bases covered in case they have to make a quick exit.

Ultra Music Festival will continue March 29, 30, & 31, 2019. Location TBD(?)