Ultra Music Festival 2013: Two Dozen People Hospitalized

Categories: News
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Every time the neon-clad masses descend upon Miami for the Ultra Music Festival, rumors of injuries, overdoses, and even deaths swirl around the city.

Ever wonder how much of it is true? We did, so we decided to find out. After three weeks of repeatedly requesting public records, here's what we discovered.

See also:
- Ultra Music Festival: Police Say Anthony Cassano, 20, Likely Died of Drug Overdose

After breaking the news that 20-year-old Anthony Cassano likely died of a drug overdose at Ultra, we wondered how many more had gotten sick or injured at the festival.

We contacted the City of Miami's Department of Fire Rescue at the end of March to request reports on everyone attended to by paramedics at Ultra.

Instead, nearly two weeks later, all we got was this:
  • Over the course of Ultra's two weekends, City of Miami paramedics responded to 44 calls at Bayfront Park
  • In 24 of those cases, someone was taken to the hospital.
Unless Miami Fire Rescue responds to our requests for more detailed information, however, we have no idea how many of those 24 hospitalizations were overdoses.

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No word on whether this guy was hospitalized or not.
At least a few, in all likelihood. Shortly after Ultra ended -- and before New Times reported Cassano's death -- a tipster sent us an email describing the emergency room at Jackson Memorial on the last day of the festival: "There were three kids in the ER on Sunday evening," the tipster wrote. "I know one died and the other two were in very bad shape."

An Ultra spokesman did not respond to our request for comment for this article.

Police arrested 167 people at Ultra this year, primarily for narcotics and gatecrashing. (Last year, there were 78 arrests during the three-day event, 45 of them for narcotics. More than 60 people were injured last year, many from suspected drug overdoses, but no one died.)

City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has criticized the festival for the prevalence of narcotics, even calling for Ultra to drop its second weekend.

A 2012 University of Miami study, meanwhile, found that three previously healthy men in their 20s suffered brain hemorrhages from taking MDMA, or "Molly," last year.

The debate over drug abuse at Ultra isn't going to be settled any time soon. But more public records sure would help.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.
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18 comments
Guy Clarke
Guy Clarke

Sorry Andre but I'm just tired of people hating on the festival based on bias media reports. Ultra brings millions to the local economy via hotels, food sales, waiters/waitresses, taxi rides, the clubs and bars make money, and EVERYONE in the service industry! Rental cars, airlines, condo rentals etc etc etc. the list goes on and on how bringing 150,000 thousand people into town helps the economy. Yes there is drug use and yes 100 some odd people were arrested in the two week period but all in all considering how many people showed up it wasn't as bad as Memorial Day weekend crime :)

Andre Armando
Andre Armando

@Guy - how so? the only ones that profit are nearby hotels and drug dealers. also, no need to be rude.

Guy Clarke
Guy Clarke

Ultra brings MILLIONS of dollars to the local economy - Just shut up Andre

George I'doccupyThat Owen
George I'doccupyThat Owen

Yeah what Freddy said. Hip hop week is way more drugged up. Yo a dude got so cooked he chewed a face.

Cobra
Cobra

The reason the cop wanted permission to access his phone was to erase any video evidence. DO NOT GRANT THEM ACCESS!!!! ALSO PUT A PASSWORD OR KEY LOCK ON YOUR PHONE!! Without one cops can access you phone without your permission.

Freddy Gonzalez
Freddy Gonzalez

and how many people are hospitalized during hip hop week ?

Marlon De Leon
Marlon De Leon

12 people were hospitalized during ultra?! cool.. listen to my mix!!

Andre Armando
Andre Armando

ban Ultra for good; it promotes heavy drug use to minors and interferes with thousands of businesses and residents in downtown Miami. nothing positive comes out of it.

trishthedish
trishthedish

considering how many attended, not a bad ratio

Danny Diaz
Danny Diaz

People are so quick to destroy themselves, why? Pick up a book, visit a local hospital with kids who have cancer, go to a temple or something, learn to value life. Love yourself.

tjohnstonj316
tjohnstonj316

@Andre Armando. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. 
Maybe before you start typing your response you should actually read up on
the facts. 


vikingwarbrides
vikingwarbrides

@Andre Armando I guess all that money, international tourism, positive PR for Miami and South Florida, are no good, huh?

Cobra
Cobra

@Andre Armando no es para tanto...

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