Relax, ravers -- your party is safe.
Despite Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's anti-expansion resolution, Miami City Commissioners agreed to let Ultra Music Festival continue with its plans to grow into a second weekend in Bayfront Park this March.
In a hearing Thursday, other commissioners expressed their support for allowing Ultra to hold a 6-day festival in 2013 on a trial basis -- though festival organizers didn't get away scot free. Ultra will not only have to petition the city commission before any second weekends in the future, but the festival will fork over $500,000 to a City of Miami police fund as part of the agreement.
Sarnoff, citing concerns from unnamed Dowtown business owners, had filed a resolution asking his peers to officially "disapprove" of Ultra's expanded two-weekend format, and to remove the permission already granted Ultra by the Bayfront Park Management Trust by divesting the Trust of its authority.
The backlash from festival-goers was heavy. Reports Miami New Times:
Whether or not the worldwide outpouring of support for the second weekend to go on as planned had any influence is debatable. But Twitter user EDMsnob, who created the petition that has been bombarding the City of Miami, tweeted a quote we assume came from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff:
The Miami Herald reports that commissioners including Frank Carollo made a case for allowing Ultra's second weekend because of its economic impact. The festival last year drew 160,000 people on a single weekend and dumped an estimated $79 million into the economy.
But despite Ultra's plan to shut down between weekends, holding the festival only March 15-17 and 22-24, Sarnoff argued it would encourage weekday drug use, according to New Times.
"We all know drug usage is high at Ultra. And it might be OK for a young man to get high, or whatever you want to call it, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday," he said. "But you are going to have some people try to do Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...."
Ultra staff hailed the decision in a statement while announcing the festival was nearing a sellout on its 330,000 available tickets: "We appreciate the incredible support of the city of Miami Commission, Mayor, Bayfront Park Management Trust, and Fire and Police Departments, as together we have implemented a logistical plan that addresses everyone's concerns, including those of local residents and businesses, allowing us to move forward and focus on producing the first rate, world class event ULTRA has become."