Ultra Ban on Miami City Commission Agenda
Photo by George Martinez
Chaos. Gatecrashing. Drug use. Graffiti. Crime.
In the wake of Ultra Music Festival 2014, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff have hyperbolically enumerated the evils of the EDM fest in pursuit of a city-wide ban.
But in support of their resolution "prohibiting the Bayfront Park Management Trust from holding the Ultra Music Festival in the future," Regalado and Sarnoff have slipped into scaremongering.
See also: In Defense of Ultra Music Festival
Photo by George Martinez
Set to be discussed, considered, and voted upon during tomorrow's Miami City Commission meeting, the mayor and commissioner's proposed legislation uses a "breach of contract" accusation against Ultra as the basis for seeking a ban.
Among Ultra's other crimes, as listed in the resolution:
-Resulting in "84 documented arrests and 153 documented calls for Fire-Rescue service"
-Placing "unparalleled strain on the City of Miami's ("City's") public safety services"
-Allowing "attendees without tickets, through no fault of the City, [to storm] the perimeter fence to gain illegal access to the Festival, without regard for human life or safety, and the ensuing mob trampled a security guard, [Erica Mack], working at the event"
-Failing to heed "City officials [who] ordered the organizers of the Festival to reinforce and increase fencing at the location where the stampede occurred"
-Contributing to "drug use, graffiti, and other crimes that continue to have a deleterious effect on the City, and in particular, the Downtown area"
-Leading to the deaths of "a 21 year old [Adonis Escoto, who] died in a parked car after attending the Festival" and "a 20 year old [Anthony Cassano, who] allegedly died from a drug overdose at the Festival [in 2013]"
Of all these arguments, the only valid ones are those concerning the allegedly insufficient fencing, which may have provided an opportunity for the gatecrashing incident that caused Erica Mack's injuries.
All of Regalado and Sarnoff's other assertions are bunk. The arrests, ambulance calls, drug use, and graffiti should be expected when dealing with any weekend-long crowd of 150,000 people.
As for the fatalities during Ultra, there is no reasonable way to blame the festival for drug deaths. The use of street drugs and their consequences is a personal responsibility issue. (Also important to note: It's still unknown what exactly led to Adonis Escoto dying in that car, where he was left alone to "sober up" by his friends.)
Of course, though, the mayor and the commissioner are determined to convince the people of Miami, by any means necessary, that "it is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City to discontinue this event." In fact, Sarnoff has even tried to make his point by producing a clip reel of "Ultra-goers' worst behavior" (using YouTube as his primary source) for Channel 10 news.
But the main impediment to their Ultra ban isn't public opinion. It's the fact that the festival has the contracted right to host its event at Bayfront Park through 2018.