Ultra Music Festival

Ultra Music Festival 2015 Will Be an 18-and-Over Event

Some may complain; others may cheer. It seems like Ultra Music Festival organizers have finally put an age restriction for the event.

EDM.com is reporting that Ultra 2015 will be a 18-and-over affair. This is according to flyers handed out at this weekend's Electric Zoo in New York City.

UPDATE Ultra confirms 18-and-Over policy: "The first step to having fun is feeling safe."

The flyer included the following precaution:

The safety and security of our attendees, artists/performers, and personnel are our utmost priority and concern.

Event organizers maintain a zero tolerance policy respecting the possession, sale, contribution, or use of any illegal or illicit drugs or substances and any such possession, sale, contribution, or use is strictly prohibited.

Crossfade has reached out to Ultra's organizers for comment.

Since its inception 16 years ago, Ultra has been an all-ages event. The news, if true, will obviously upset younger Ultra fans who have always been welcomed to the festival.

If the flyer turns out to be authentic, the new restriction is likely to appease City of Miami officials. (Let's not forgot the Footloose-esque call for Ultra's banishment that was led by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.)

This year's headlines concerning Ultra were dominated by the trampling of Erica Mack, who was working security detail the first night of the festival. There were also complaints of quality-of-life disturbances to downtown residents and drug use at the festival.

Also, the age restriction is probably not surprising to those who have been following reports from this summer's dance music events around the U.S. This year alone, the news of overdoses and deaths following EDM events has been staggering.

Mad Decent, the label helmed by superstar DJ-producer Diplo, banned kandi paraphernalia at its summer block party after two deaths and multiple hospitalizations at the Baltimore stop.

And earlier this month at Hard's Summer Festival in Los Angeles, a 19-year-old woman died of an overdose. This along with hundreds of arrests has L.A. County thinking of preventing Hard from taking place at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Center next year.

Of course, the biggest burst to the EDM bubble came last year when multiple people overdosed at Electric Zoo, forcing the cancelation of the final day of the three-day event.

This year, Electric Zoo created an (unintentionally hilarious?) anti-MDMA (AKA Molly) PSA that warned about the dangers of the drug. The festival required all ticket holders to watch the video before entering the venue.

Ultra, so far, has avoided these kinds of headlines, despite a few incidents occurring during the festival's run. Increasing the age limit to 18 might be a way to avoid a potentially festival-killing occurrence.

The age limit might also be welcomed by critics' who have lashed out at Ultra for becoming nothing more than a teenage spring break party. Though, we have to hand it to the organizers, because while other U.S. dance music festivals have been built on catering to EDM tastes, Ultra has always been able to blend popular dance music and underground acts in order to attract a wide variety of attendees.

The new age restriction is sure to cause an outcry, but since early-bird tickets have not yet gone on sale, there's no need for Ultra to apologize or issue refunds.

Crossfade's Top Blogs

-50 Things You See at Ultra Music Festival

-Ultra Plans "Comprehensive Security Review" in Response to Security Guard's Trampling

-In Defense of Ultra Music Festival

Ultra Music Fesival 2015. Friday to Sunday, March 27 to 29, 2015. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Pre-Registration for tickets begins September 15, 2014. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran

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