Starting as a one-day concert in 1999, Ultra Music Festival has grown to a three-day celebration in most recent years. Headliners, like M.I.A and David Guetta, draw over a hundred thousand people to Miami in March every year. As much as the outdoor electronic festival seems like fun, it’s not without its black marks.
On Friday night, the day the Ultra Music Festival began, Miami police informed festival personnel that the perimeter of the event had a severe weak spot. The warning was shrugged off with the response that they needed the opening for vendors. As a direct result of ignoring the warning, Erica Mack, a 28 year-old Ultra security guard, was critically injured in a stampede of concert goers trying to get in without tickets. She survived the ordeal, but is still in critical condition with a broken leg and brain hemorrhaging. Mayor Regalado had this to say:
What happened this weekend is an event that could have been avoided. The organizers of Ultra did not follow the police directive to reinforce the fence, even though they knew that this year, and the year before, some kids have tried to overrun the fences. In the next weeks we are going to have a discussion on the city commission level to deny the permits for next year for the event here in the city of Miami.
If that wasn’t enough to make Miami reconsider hosting the Ultra Music Festival again next year, another boy’s death has been linked to the event. Adonis Pena Escoto, 21, a concert attendee began feeling sick during the festival. His friends brought him to their car in order to let him rest, then went back to the concert. When they got back, they found their friend would not wake up.
Authorities do not know what the cause of Escoto’s death was at this time. His family insists that he was not into drugs, but it will take a couple of months for the toxicology report to come back, according to the Miami police chief.
Throughout the music festival, there were a grand total of over 80 arrests, many of which were drug or violence related. Surprisingly, that’s down from over 160 arrests that were made in 2013. Of course, the 2014 total doesn’t include any subsequent arrests that will be made as a result of the investigation into the trampling incident.
Should the Ultra Music Festival continue to be held in Miami or is it proving to be just too dangerous for the community?