Ultra Fest to Stay in Miami, City Commission Decides
Miami city commissioners have voted to keep the Ultra Music Festival in their city after a motion was introduced to ban the festival. The politicians voted four to one in favor of hosting the festival, according to Miami TV station WSVN.
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Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, the vote’s one “nay,” and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had called for the festival to be banned after gate-crashers trampled 28-year-old security guard Erica Mack and caused her severe brain hemorrhaging. She was hospitalized for several days with a broken leg and fractured skull, but is now at home recovering.
Under the motion, Ultra is allowed to stay in Miami with certain conditions: Its organizers must increase the number of police working the event. They must establish a phone number for residents local to the festival to call to report problems. The festival must display a zero drug, lewd and lascivious behavior policy in a way that is “very public.” And it must set up drug counseling stations throughout the event. The 2015 festival is scheduled to take place March 27th – 29th.
After the commission reached its verdict, Ultra issued a statement via Facebook. “The setting for the event in downtown Miami is part of what makes the event magical,” it said. “We appreciate the commission for their vote today.” It also said that it would continue to work with the city, its police and the trust that manages the park where it takes place, to ensure the event would be safe. “We are pleased to continue our ongoing practice of assessing and implementing improved security measures as well as any recommendations from our ongoing security review being led by our new Director of Security, Police Chief Ray Martinez,” it said.
Previously, Ultra issued two statements following Mack’s trampling. One expressed remorse for the incident and placed blame on illegal gatecrashers. The other announced that it was reviewing its security policies. “Each year, arrests and injuries reported at the event have been considerably lower than other similarly sized outdoor events,” the latter stated. “However, any incident of this nature is one too many and must be addressed.”
Earlier this week, New York EDM festival Electric Zoo announced that it would return following the drug-related deaths of two attendees last year. Organizers revealed increased security measures, including drug-sniffing dogs and an increased number of plainclothes security officers specializing in narcotics patrolling the festival grounds.