Organizers are backing out of an agreement that allowed them to stage their most recent event on Virginia Key, a controversial move spurred by commissioners who kicked the festival out of Bayfront Park in September — an unceremonious exit underscored by political infighting among Miami commissioners, complaints from downtown condo residents and debate over Ultra’s fee to the city.
The Virginia Key contract, which was approved in November, automatically renewed for the following year unless either Ultra or the city revoked the agreement within 60 days of the festival’s closing each year. On Wednesday, the day before commissioners were scheduled to vote on whether Ultra would be allowed to return, festival organizers beat them to the punch.
Ultra’s next home could be in Homestead, according to sources familiar with those discussions.
In a statement tweeted to fans Wednesday afternoon, Ultra acknowledged fans’ complaints about their experience at the festival on Virginia Key.
“After listening to feedback from many of you, (including over 20,000 fans who took our post-event survey), it is clear that the festival experience on Virginia Key was simply not good enough,” read the statement. “This is Ultra Music Festival, after all, and our attendees expect us to deliver on our commitment to excellence. Being committed to excellence not only means constantly striving to become better. It also means being willing to change things when they are not working.”
Ultra did not reveal the new location for next year in its statement, but Homestead officials confirmed there are talks to bring the festival to south Miami-Dade. Homestead City Manager George Gretsas told the Herald he has been made aware of conversations between Ultra and the Homestead-Miami Speedway, which he relayed to his City Council on Wednesday.
Ultra 2020 is scheduled to happen March 27-29. Stay tuned for the festival's formal announcement with new location and ticket info.
Here's Ultra's full statement: