Miami residents react to Ultra Music Festival’s return to Bayfront Park

MIAMI (WSVN) - After City of Miami commissioners voted to bring back Ultra Music Festival to Bayfront Park, residents have conflicting views on the decision.

Several locals and business owners made their way to the meeting at Miami City Hall to voice their opinions before the measure passed 3-2 on Thursday.

A day later, those who live and work in the area recall past years where the festival was held at Bayfront Park and are reacting to the passed deal.

“It is so loud and out of control sometimes it feels like,” said Downtown Miami resident Timothy Frazier.

“That weekend, it does get extremely busy over here,” said resident Michael Perez. “The traffic is terrible, but other than that, I mean, it’s cool. Everyone is having a good time, so that’s really what matters, you know?”

“The crowd was crazy,” said Mekka Jeanty, who works in the area. “You could see people laying all on the streets, and it was a bit much.”

There were tense moments during the hearing that led commissioners to narrowly approve Ultra’s return to downtown Miami.

“You’re not negotiating for the City of Miami. You’re negotiating for Ultra,” Commissioner Joe Carollo told a supporter of the music festival.

“Commissioner, don’t accuse us of that,” said the supporter.

“Absolutely!” replied Carollo.

Moments after the vote, the festival posted a video to Twitter with the hashtag #BackToBayfront and the message, “Miami, we’re coming home.”

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he wants to make sure everybody is happy.

“The main concern is having the festival be able to co-exist with the neighbors from the area,” Suarez said. “I think there’s still some work to be done.”

“It’s frustrating,” said Frazier. “Our leaders aren’t listening to us.”

“If they could kind of get the crowd and control it a little better, it wouldn’t be a big problem because they do generate revenue,” said Jeanty.

Thursday afternoon, downtown Miami residents expressed their misgivings about the annual event to commissioners.

“I’m against the noise,” said one resident. “I’m against the profanity.”

“There’s no space to walk on the sidewalk,” said another resident. “They block them. There’s no space for the children to play.”

This year’s festival was held in Virginia Key and organizers dealt with complaints about transportation and the environmental impact.

“I thought that this was so poorly planned out,” one attendee said.

Organizers have agreed to several changes to the festival including less time the park will be off-limits, fewer stages and lower sound levels.

Lights and stage positioning will also be adjusted.

Organizers also agreed to repay $308,000 that the city spent on emergency equipment for Virginia Key.

“At the end of the day, this is essentially a revolving one-year deal that can be cancelled every single year, and in order for there to be long-term harmony, you have to appease the residents and be a good neighbor,” said Suarez.

Initially, the city said Ultra owed them around $475,000 from this year’s festival. However, the two sides settled to just over $300,000, which will be repaid in two installments.

The first installment will be due 10 days after the new contract is signed, and the other installment is due 10 days after the 2020 festival ends.

 

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