Ultra has an Ultra problem
Ultra Music Festival. Should we stop there? Nah, you’re right. Ultra’s globally recognized as a powerhouse event company. We can’t say Ultra Music Festival and quit. It’s like foreplay that doesn't end in a happy ending, another word for it, blue balls.
To understand Ultra, we need to go back almost two decades ago. Holy fuck I’m two decades old! Anyways, on March, 1999, 7,000 people gathered in Miami Beach’s Collins Park (runs from 17th-25th street) to hear headliners Rabbit in the Moon and Union Jack. 50 performers, $30 tickets, it started with a rave.
The first Ultra was a success (kinda). It’s reported that co-founders Russell Faibisch, a Beach native, and Alex Omes, an Argentine who moved to the Beach during childhood, lost $10-20,000. Putting that into perspective to what Ultra’s become, it’s pennies.
Years go by and Ultra only grows. Working alongside Miami Music Conference (MMC), Ultra became the closer of the week-long conference to eventually be the main festival of MMC. From there, the sky was the limit. Ultra now hosts 20+ music festivals a year in 20 countries. If that isn’t amazing we don’t know what is.
Along the road to success Ultra had its bumps. Its natural for any event company, only thing Ultra had going against it is Miami. It’s people, the government, and the awful traffic.
Let’s start with the people. We just mentioned co-founders Russell and Alex. There’s a story about these big boys that goes way deeper than Ultra. 2010, 11 years after starting Ultra, Russell and Alex had a falling out. Alex was ousted from the organization and it was up to Russell to take over. This is when it gets super interesting. While locked in a years-long legal battle with his former business partner, Omes died in his sleep the day before his lawsuit against the festival was set to go to trial. Miami New Times later reported he had drugs in his system, though the autopsy was not conclusive. Bamn. Just blew your mind right quick.
We can talk more about the drug arrests, trampled security guards and the infamous “girl kissing a tree” vid you can find here. It’s all relevant to how Ultra came to be but we understand, “time is money”.
Today is what we need to address. Ultra has had continuous and prosperous growth in Miami dependent on the continued support of locals and Miami’s finest government services. That continued support ended many years ago, each year scaring Ultra to pick substitute venues (just in case). The time has come that Ultra might really need to have alternatives.
The day of VENTURE 2018, Miami commissioners rejected an agreement made between Ultra and the City of Miami. Carollo, the commissioner who chairs the agency that manages Bayfront Park (for this case the big shot), continually denies any proposals made by still CEO Russell Faibisch. His worries are the same of residents. Traffic, loud music, drugs, and safety, all important issues Ultra needs to figure out. The fact is: If Ultra doesn’t come back with an agreement commissioners will sign, well, they’re fucked.
Ultra’s in a pickle that everyone knows about. What’s their next move? Well at UMAMI we know what we would do. Get as many of those commissioners to say yes to Ultra. Let’s be realistic: Ultra brings an economic incentive to Miami, it keeps the culture of electronic dance music alive and it serves as a ritual to almost any local who knows Miami for what it is, the magic city.
Since we’re here anyways, if Ultra has to move, where would it be? The Everglades? Hard Rock Stadium (Rolling Loud Part 2)? Homestead-Miami Speedway? No matter what, Ultra will be here March 29-31st. For fucks sake, tickets already sold. Comment below.