The Ultra bidding war is on! Ultra Music Festival went from South Florida’s red-headed stepchild to the prettiest girl at the ball in pretty short order in the past few months. After Miami kicked Ultra out of Bayfront Park and then criticized its move to Virginia Key, many were shocked when Ultra said “enough is enough“. Many wondered what would happen, but some suspected Ultra was making a smart chess move.
While a few months ago Ultra was being attacked from all sides, now the suitors are lining up. Ultra’s breakup letter to Miami gave Ultra the mojo to attract Homestead and its large Speedway, but also even Fort Lauderdale and now Miami Beach.
Just hours after Miami held a Council meeting where it was decided they would re-engage with Ultra to try and bring the festival back to downtown Miami, Homestead held its own council meeting about Ultra. During that meeting Homestead approved a request from the Homestead-Miami Speedway to extend its operating hours and allow for a 10 year contract to lure Ultra. The speedway is owned by the city and currently closes at 11pm for events, but will now be able to stay open until 2am. Additionally, Homestead expects that around 40% of attendees would camp on site to reduce traffic issues, as happens during NASCAR races. Ultra actually has experience with camping from its Ultra Europe festival.
Homestead required that any site plan would have to be approved by the city manager, all traffic plans would have to be approved by the police department, Ultra would have to indemnify Homestead should anything happen to anyone, and all insurance carriers would have to be approved by Homestead. Lastly, Ultra would have to agree to a $2 per day surcharge on ticket prices to go to the city.
It would seem that right now Homestead is winning the Game of Venues as it has seemingly the full authority it needs to close a deal. Now Miami Beach and Miami Proper will seek to give their representatives similar authority and Ultra will get to pick among the options. The tables have certainly turned for Ultra, who now has at least 3 municipalities fighting to win out as the festival’s new permanent home. Time is of the essence now as each knows Ultra wants to lock this down soon and that they face stiff competition. Where do you want to see Ultra end up?