The Ultra Music Fest should not leave Miami.
But there are some issues they need to deal with.
Although probably grandstanding, the mayor's sort of on-point when talking about the quality of life of residents in Downtown being affected by the festival.
Also, the media's a little off-point to focus on gate crashing, although it is of course a tragedy and hopefully Ms. Mack makes a quick and full recovery and earns a nice six-figure settlement. But, still, gate crashing is isolated. Let's talk about the festival.
No one's saying Ultra isn't entertaining, healthy for the economy, extremely fun, and in some ways, a Miami-right-of-passage, or in the least something everyone should experience once. Ultra is all of that. And the light show at the main stage almost justifies the price of admission but let's be honest, $500 is a lot of money for a concert.
If Jesus was opening up for the Almighty God, proving the existence of heaven and an afterlife, a lot people would be like I don't know bro, $500 is a lot of money for a concert. Bless Ultra's soul that they can get that much money, but they're not God, nor the mafia, so it's fair to offer some constructive criticisms, because honestly, as much fun as Ultra is, there's room for improvement in many areas and it's fair to question if the ride is worth the price of admission.
Location, Location, Location
The problem with Ultra in Downtown is that they used to be in Bicentennial Park, which was more removed from Biscayne Boulevard and provided more space--it worked better. That area is now occupied by the Perez Miami Museum and work-in-progress Miami Science Museum. I believe 2014 was the second or third year Ultra has cut a deal with the Bayfront Park Trust to host the festivities and they might be at a tipping point. The party spills literally onto the streets of Biscayne Boulevard. That's not to say this city can't handle street parties. Didn't we just host the largest street party in the country like two weeks, ahem, Calle Ocho? Still, realize, Ultra clogs Downtown for more than a month as it takes time to set-up, tear down, and the actual party itself. Calle Ocho is one day not 35 days. Ultra shouldn't leave Miami but maybe look into going somewhere else. What's wrong with Virginia Key Park in Key Biscayne? That would be perfect. It's beautiful, on the beaches, and in the middle of nowhere so they can make all the noise they want. The city already hosts music festivals there. How about Amelia Earhart Park? That space could also be perfect. Throw Hialeah some money. Or the fairgrounds in Kendall? The only other city that has a large music festival in the downtown corridor is Lollapalooza in Chicago, but Grant Park is separated from Lake Shore Drive by a few city blocks so it works there. Look at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, of course they don't throw the party on the Strip, it's at the raceway outside the city. Ultra, dude, you're growing up, and so is the hood around you -- maybe it's time to move the party west; while you're at it bring down the price of admission since you won't have to pay the city as much..
Single day tickets
Why on earth can't Ultra sell single day tickets? What's the reasoning behind that? It's like a weird trap. And it scrambles people to maneuver ways to attend for a single day because not everyone wants to go for three days.
More political and environmental activism
No offense, but Ultra lacks awareness. It's purely a party. Maybe that's the way of the EDM scene, but seriously, why not join other awesome festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella and get a little conscious. A lot of bands that Ultra caters to also play those other festivals so it's not just an EDM thing.
A little political and environmental awareness can't hurt.
Healing arts / massage area
If there was ever a festival that needed a massage area, Ultra is it. After dancing and dancing and dancing and dancing for hours into days it really takes a toll on your body. What's wrong with some massage tables? Foot massages? Maybe yoga on-the-hour, by-the-hour. People would enjoy stretching.
Logistics, logistics, logistics
When you pay $500 to enter, is it too much to ask for a map and schedule?
If you advertise free wifi, is it too much for it to work? Didn't for us.
Is it too much to ask for an ATM machine to not run out of money?
Steps in an awesome direction Ultra deserves props for:
- Water stations for backpacks to keep everyone hydrated
- Delicious options for food, particularly the vegan and vegetarian choices.
- Medical stations
- Lights at the main stage
Criticism is not hate
I've been critical of Ultra in the past, but I never said the festival wasn't fun.