Skip to main content

Ultra Music Festival at risk of cancellation due to coronavirus fears

Miami officials want to postpone the festival "to a later date when we'll have a better idea of where we're heading with the coronavirus" 

Ultra Music Festival, which is set to run 20th to 22nd March, could reportedly be postponed following reports that two elected officials in Miami have raised concerns relating to the coronavirus. 

Commissioner Joe Carollo — chair of the semi-autonomous government agency in charge of the event's venue, Bayfront Park — and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced today, Wednesday 4th February, plans to meet with Ultra organisers and City Manager Art Noriega at 11.30AM EST to discuss the risk factors and a potential delay to the weekender, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

Following pressure from local residents, Suarez reportedly outlined that City Hall has the power to cancel the event under the current agreement, if Ultra don't agree to postpone.

“We are going to be having a meeting today with folks from Ultra to discuss the possibility of them suspending the event,” Carollo said. “We’re saying suspend it to a later date when we’ll have a better idea of where we’re heading with the coronavirus.”

Carollo has apparently emphasised the city does not want to cancel the 55,000-per-day-capacity festival, but with attendees flying in from more than 100 countries across the world there are significant dangers that must be considered. The US is among the nations currently attempting to contain the virus before a widespread outbreak.

Ultra's Abu Dhabi edition, which was set for this weekend — 5th and 6th March — has already been cancelled amid 'public health concerns'.  

It's the latest chapter in a rather problematic relationship between Ultra and its host city. The festival was forced to move to a new site last year following complaints from local residents but secured permission to return to its spiritual home this spring. It then received the threat of a lawsuit from Miami's Downtown Neighbours Alliance. Find out about the environmental and sustainability steps organisers have taken since 2018 in our long-read feature on the future of festivals, according to festivals