The downtown Miami community gears up for the Ultra Music Fest every year. 2013 is no different. The influential and popular electronic music festival will cross two weekends at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami this year. In 2012, over 165,000 people came out for the music fest. This year, the festival’s fifteenth, organizers expect those numbers to double, hitting around 350,000 participants.
The community is concerned that the festival brings in music fans, drug users and dealers and people who show no respect for their homes and businesses. It’s not only the endurance of the massive crowds during the two weeks. It’s the havoc they leave behind. More importantly, residents and business owners aren’t happy about not having their beloved Bayfront Park for the period, leaving them no place to walk their dogs or simply getting some air.
While organizers and police have tried to reassure the community, they are also making it quite clear that Ultra Music Fest is big and happening. They are trying to balance the community concerns with the economic impact an event like Ultra Music Fest can have. The high priced event is likely to put over a million dollars into the park.
Planning for the event has been under scrutiny for months. Almost 25 percent of the Miami Police Department will likely be at the event. The Miami Fire Department will have a medical emergency station set up in the park. Police presence has already been bumped up by close to 50 percent with over 200 cops walking the radius of the park event. The biggest concern will be handling the traffic. During the festival, parts of Biscayne Boulevard will be shut down with traffic being diverted.
Authorities believe they have prepared for every contingency, especially with fifteen years to look back on. The festival’s producer, Raymond Steinman, has expressed confidence that everyone can expect things to run smoothly, stating, “With any big event in a metropolitan area there is a lot of obstacles to overcome and we have tried to adjust to everything we can and try to make it as comfortable for everyone as possible.”
The Ultra Music Fest takes place the weekends of March 15–17 and March 22–24. The park itself will be closed for an estimated 38 days to accommodate preparation, set ups and break down of sets, the concerts themselves and clean up and repair.