In the end, with tickets already sold and acts being announced, the City of Miami commission was willing to see how a six-day, two-weekend Ultra will impact the city.
The fest will go forward on two conditions: (1) That organizers pay $500,000 to a special City of Miami police fund; and (2) Ultra seek approval before the commission next year for a second weekend before announcing 2014 dates or selling tickets.
Whether or not the worldwide outpouring of support for the second weekend to go on as planned had any influence is debatable. But Twitter user EDMsnob, who created the petition that has been bombarding the City of Miami, tweeted a quote we assume came from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff:
"Oh Jesus, you're the kid with the petition? Can you tell everyone to stop emailing me already? Damn it."
-- EDMsnob (@EDMsnob) January 10, 2013
We guarantee that Ultra's organizers will do everything in their power to make sure the two-weekend festival goes as smoothly as possible. The fest certainly doesn't want to give the city any excuse not to approve another extended edition of UMF for 2014. That means they will have to make sure downtown businesses and residents can live with a six-day onslaught of festival-goers and dance music.
Commissioners Frank Carollo, Francis Suarez, and Michelle Spence-Jones all came out in defense of Ultra's two-weekend plan going forward. Still, if the 2013 event has a negative impact on the city, they all agreed they would vote against it next year.
And although Sarnoff voted in favor of Ultra, he's still not convinced the event is a positive thing for the city.
"I don't share your vision that you should have this disruption, this Woodstock, in the central core of Miami. It's perfectly OK to do it three days a week, but now you've increased it to six days."
Photo by Ian Witlen
Sarnoff is also still concerned about drug use.
"We all know drug usage is high at Ultra. And it might be OK for a young man to get high, or whatever you want to call it, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But you are going to have some people try to do Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...."
Commissioner Carollo, a former police officer, understands Sarnoff's concerns, but he doesn't think the festival is to blame.
"Ultra is not to blame for drug use, it's our youth. Kids will do drugs in or out of Ultra regardless."
Carallo also thinks the festival adds to the city's diversity.
"I may not be attending the Ultra Fest. However, this is a diverse city and that's what makes this great. There is a demand for this. And not just from local people, if you see the emails, internationally too."
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UPDATE Ultra organizers have just issued an official statement on the City of Miami commission's decision to approve all six days of the 2013 fest.
Ultra Music Festival Two Weekends Full Steam Ahead
Yes, it's all systems go and we are moving full steam ahead!!! ULTRA Music Festival will make history in 2013 as the world's first ever ELECTRONIC music festival to take place over two weekends on March 15-17 and March 22-24 in celebration of our 15 year anniversary.
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.
We're extremely excited about the double-weekend celebration that will take place at the world's most beautiful event location, Bayfront Park & Biscayne Blvd, in the heart of the Magic City, Downtown Miami.
As we enter our 15th year, and approach a complete SELL OUT of all 330,000 available tickets, those of you lucky enough to attend can expect ULTRA's strongest and most diverse lineup to date, with an unparalleled level of production never before seen at a festival of this magnitude. As has become our signature, ticket holders can expect a wide array of surprises, including the possibility of unannounced mega artist appearances!
ULTRA Music Festival is proud to be the World's Premier Electronic Music Festival, and we would like to thank all of the artists, managers, agents and most importantly, THE FANS, who have contributed to making ULTRA a focal point of the strongest musical and cultural movement on earth. ULTRA 15... HERE WE GO!!!