Ultra Music Festival is a hub for EDM, encouraging people from all over the world to travel to Miami each year. However, quite a bit of controversy has surrounded the festival in recent years. It has become less about supporting music and DJs and more about drug use and racy outfits. The massive, rowdy crowds along with the abundance of drugs and alcohol have put many attendees in danger. An event that used to be uplifting and celebratory is now an event people reconsider going to out of fear.
Contrary to most of my peers, I am not the biggest fan of Ultra, mostly because of the reputation it has given the city I know and love. Ultra paints Miami and its residents as nothing more than a rave culture city, and people fail to see that our city is so much more than that.
Miami is already known as a party city, but Ultra has magnified that image to the point where the wild behavior is all people see when Miami comes to mind. It’s no ordinary music festival, in that the music aspect has taken a backseat.
These assumptions about party culture leave very little room for more meaningful connections and experiences in Miami. This is fine for tourists who come, spend a couple of wild nights here and leave Miami behind when they return to reality. But the transience of this party city leaves residents in limbo, in an environment that capitalizes on superficial connections and a lack of authenticity. If Miami only prides itself on having the best parties, those who visit will think that is all we have to offer and never look beneath the surface.
Events such as Ultra not only give Miami a raunchy reputation but also threaten the safety of attendees. Ultra does generate money for the city, but if people are leaving Ultra in ambulances, it might be time to prioritize well-being over revenue. No amount of money is worth people getting hurt.
I am a strong supporter of the music industry, but recently Ultra has done more harm than good. We must speak up when these grave situations take place at Ultra in order to prevent further harm. The city of Miami owes it to its residents to provide a comfortable and sustainable concert environment so those visiting see that the city really cares about its people. It would greatly benefit both residents and tourists if this event ceased to operate, at least until the organizers can ensure the safety of attendees.
Nicole Macias is a freshman majoring in English.
Featured image courtesy Flickr user juan pablo gascon.