Last October, during a music festival in Las Vegas, a gunman blasted into the enormous crowd from the broken window of a nearby hotel. He fired more than 1,100 rounds from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, killing 58 people and injuring 815 in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Now, Miami's own enormous downtown music festival, Ultra, is approaching. It's location, Bayfront Park, is also surrounded by several tall buildings, any one of which could be used as a sniper post by a nutjob with an assault rifle. You might have watched coverage of the Vegas shooting and thought, That could happen here.
The Miami Police Department addressed those concerns this morning at a public information session, where it detailed its plans to keep crowds safe during this year's 20th-anniversary edition of Ultra.
Between showing slides on traffic adjustments and bus rerouting, representatives for MPD and Ultra explained their plans for responding to a "mass casualty" situation. The audience was shown a view of the skyscrapers surrounding Bayfront Park, and each tower was assigned a number. Officers will use the numbers to quickly identify where a hypothetical gunman could be posted in the event of a shooting. SWAT teams will also be present during the event.
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MPD also detailed other security measures and information about road closures and related topics. To prevent drugs or firearms from entering the park, the festival will enforce a clear-bag policy. Amnesty boxes will be placed at the gate for attendees to turn over any drugs or weapons to the police, no questions asked.
Police will also monitor entrances and use exit chutes to eject anyone causing trouble, and the festival will again use Formula E racing fences to secure the grounds. Ultra began using the stronger barriers after 2014, when a mob of gate-crashers trampled a security guard.
For residents worried about noise, sound checks will occur Tuesday, March 20, through Thursday, March 22, from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday, March 23, from noon to 4 p.m. Traffic rerouting will begin Thursday, March 22, and will include the closure of northbound Biscayne Boulevard from Chopin Plaza to NE Fourth Street. Traffic will return to normal Monday morning after the festival.
Ultra Music Festival 2018. Friday, March 23, through Sunday, March 25, at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; bayfrontparkmiami.com. Tickets cost $1,499.95 via ultramusicfestival.com.