Miami officials seek to end annual Ultra music fest, cite 'chaos'

MIAMI Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:56pm EDT

MIAMI (Reuters) - The mayor and other Miami officials are calling for the end of the annual Ultra electronic dance music festival after a security guard was trampled and rushed to the hospital with brain injuries when gate-crashers broke through a security fence during the three-day event.

The 28-year-old woman, who worked for a security firm, remained in critical condition Monday, according to Miami police spokesman Freddie Cruz.

"I think we should not have Ultra next year here," Miami mayor Tomas Regalado told the Miami Herald over the weekend. "We don't want to be showcased as the city of chaos."

He said festival organizers "acted irresponsibly" by failing to provide enough security at downtown Bayfront Park.

More than 160,000 people attended the festival, now in its 16th year, according to Ultra spokeswoman Alexandra Greenberg. Police arrested 84 people and made more than 150 rescue runs.

"The event coordinators are cooperating fully with investigative authorities," Greenberg said.

At last year's festival, a 20-year-old woman died following a drug overdose.

Authorities are also investigating the death of a 21-year-old man who collapsed after attending the Ultra festival on Saturday, according to a Miami police spokesman.

Electronic music festivals across the country have come under increased scrutiny in recent years.

Los Angeles in 2010 forced Insomniac Events' Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) to move to Las Vegas after a 15-year-old girl overdosed on MDMA, a popular stimulant also known as "Molly."

In 2013, EDC attracted 345,000 people to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for an all-night dance party headlined by superstar DJs like Tiesto, Avicii and Armin Van Buuren.

Miami's mayor and a city commissioner say they plan to introduce a resolution to prevent Ultra from receiving a permit next year to stage the event downtown.

"About 77,000 people are in a place where there's only one way in and one way out," said Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

He also said drug use at the event, and the deafening noise was disrupting sleep for Miami's downtown condo residents. "They have to leave for the weekend to get a night's sleep," he said.

"Nobody puts anything of this nature in their downtown," he added.

(Editing by David Adams and David Gregorio)

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Comments (14)
SoutherRican wrote:
Who owns Bayfront, guess one doesn’t need permission for a festival. If the city permitted the function it is also liable, not the first problem in 16 years is it, the defense rests.

Mar 31, 2014 1:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
NoSacredCow wrote:
Ultra was much better when it was held on the beach in South Beach rather than downtown. The City of Miami stands to lose a major source of annual revenue if they deny permits for future Ultra festivals. (Room tax revenues will drop) The concert series is almost inextricable from Winter Music Conference. So rather than make some changes for permitting to increase security and to improve education to music tourists about laws and rules in Miami, they’d rather just throw it away. Typical.

Mar 31, 2014 1:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MrBeansBaby wrote:
Shut the stinking thing down.

Mar 31, 2014 2:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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