The 2020 Ultra Music Festival will be postponed — possibly for a full year, which would effectively cancel this year’s edition of Miami’s marquee electronic dance music event, the Miami Herald has learned.
The decision to postpone was made in a meeting Wednesday morning between Miami’s elected leaders and Ultra representatives, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. Before the meeting, Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo told reporters they wanted to postpone the event due to concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
City officials have yet to announce details of the change because attorneys are ironing out the legal issues tied to the decision, including the length of the delay, sources said.
Wednesday morning, Suarez, Carollo and City Manager Art Noriega met with Ultra representatives to discuss the possibility of postponing the three-day event, which is scheduled to open March 20 at Bayfront Park. The meeting followed a press conference where Carollo and Suarez called for the event’s postponement. After the meeting, Carollo and Suarez told reporters they had a reached a resolution, but there would not be an official announcement until Friday morning.
“The decisions was made to postpone it,” Commissioner Manolo Reyes told the Herald. He spoke to Suarez after the meeting. Reyes also signaled that the city will likely look at postponing another large event on the city’s March calendar.
“I agreed with the decision to postpone it,” Reyes said. “And now I’m worried about the Calle Ocho Festival.”
Sources with knowledge of the deal told the Herald that Ultra intends to postpone the event until 2021, effectively nixing the 2020 event. The move would mark the first time in the festival’s 21-year history that Ultra will not produce an event in the greater Miami area.
But Noriega did not address the details of the deal because the city’s legal team and Ultra are still drafting language for a new agreement.
“We’re working on a plan with them, and I’ll formally announce it on Friday,” Noriega told the Herald. The devil’s in the details. I haven’t seen the actual draft of the agreement.”
The lack of clarity at Wednesday morning’s press conference caused ticket holders to wonder if the event would go on or not. Critics furiously weighed in on social media, lambasting the city for overreacting and suggesting the festival could affect the spread of coronavirus. Others said postponement or cancellation made sense. Many pointed out that fans booked flights and hotels way in advance, so they are likely to come to Miami anyway.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Carollo and Suarez — who have had heated political feuds in the past — stood side-by-side to announce that they wanted to see Ultra postponed.
“We’re saying suspend it to a later date when we’ll have a better idea of where we’re heading with the coronavirus.” said Carollo, emphasizing that the city does not want to cancel the event.
Suarez said that Ultra presents a unique challenge in that people come from abroad to attend the festival, which has a capacity of 55,000 per day. The mayor said residents have asked the city to consider postponing or canceling Ultra.
“I can tell you that just in the last 24 hours, I have received countless emails and messages of all kinds urging the city to act,” Suarez said. “That is another major motivator to have this conversation before it gets too late.”