MIAMI (WSVN) - Supporters and critics of the Ultra Music Festival spoke before Miami commissioners as the city prepares to vote on whether or not the annual event will return to its previous venue at Bayfront Park.
Commissioners at Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove listened on Thursday to passionate pleas for and against the three-day festival.
“It brings prominence to our city and generates a tremendous amount of income,” said a supporter.
But an elderly man wearing a T-shirt that reads “Save Bayfront Park” argued the drawbacks far outweigh the financial benefits.
“I am very much against Ultra. I am against the noise. I am against the profanity that we have to listen to,” he said.
Commissioners will be voting on a proposal to bring Ultra back to downtown Miami after the festival was moved to Virginia Key for this year’s edition. The move came as a result of residents’ complaints about traffic congestion, the park’s closure and relentless noise.
“You hear the same thing, ‘dun, dun, dun, dun,'” said Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo.
But the move to Virginia Key led to an event filled with logistical problems, resulting in revelers finding themselves stranded at the end of the first night and being forced to walk back to the mainland.
“I thought this was so poorly planned out,” said a reveler during the 2019 festival.
“We’re all stuck in traffic with all the other cars coming here. It took us, what — we caught the bus at 6 o’clock; it’s almost 8,” said another frustrated reveler.
Before Thursday’s vote, people lined up for hours to give their take. Most of the festival’s detractors cited noise and lack of access to the park for well over a month during the setup and tear-down of the event.
“It’s gonna be closed for two months. There’s no space to walk on the sidewalk; they block them,” said a woman. “There’s no space for the children to play. The sound, it doesn’t stop for three days.”
But local business owners said the internationally renowned electronic music showcase puts Miami on the map and dollars into the local economy.
“Every country wants Ultra. It’s a Miami-grown festival, and I just encourage you guys to please, please– for my staff, for myself, for Miami — bring it back to Miami, where it started,” said nightclub owner David Grutman.
But opponents countered that the festival was bumped from Bayfront Park before for good reason.
“I’m not against Ultra, but please, take it somewhere else,” said a woman. “There’s lots of room in this city to take it somewhere else.”
After the vote, a Bayfront Park-approved commission would still need to approve the festival’s return. Nevertheless, the commissioners’ decision is considered the biggest hurdle organizers need to clear if they want to bring Ultra back.
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