In a decision that should surprise no one, the Miami City Commission on Thursday night rejected a bid to halt an expansion of the city’s massive Ultra Music Festival, allowing the lucrative March event to book a second weekend of electronic music at Bayfront Park. The first-time expansion was approved on a trial basis, with commissioners pledging to revisit the plan next year.
The debate was prompted by a resolution from City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff that cited noise, traffic and “nuisance behavior” that was disruptive to local business and residents during the three-day 2012 festival. Sarnoff said three additional days of such activity would be intolerable for area residents.
Last year’s edition of the 15-year-old festival drew 160,000 people from 50 states and 75 countries to downtown Miami, pumping nearly $80 million into the local economy, according to a study by the Washington Economic Group, Inc. This year’s event is expected to double those figures over six days.
An online petition in support of a second weekend of Ultra closed Thursday night with 8,660 signatures.
In preparing for an expanded festival, Ultra officials had pledged $600,000 for off-duty police and fire personnel and developed new traffic plans for Biscayne Boulevard.
In a statement Thursday night, Ultra organizers said: “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.”
Ultra Music Festival begins March 15-17, with a diverse lineup that includes David Guetta, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5 (pictured), Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Crystal Castles, Matt & Kim, Thievery Corporation and Yeasayer. The March 22-24 lineup has not been released.
More info: UltraMusicFestival.com.
Photo: Getty Images