Miami’s Ultra Music Festival gets underway after crash


Erin Jester and Maria

A day after the LED screen fell trapping two men who were preparing for the massive Ultra Music Festival, Miami officials disclosed that the city had not inspected the site.

Inspections were completed by engineers hired by Ultra, and the city’s code enforcement determined all permits were in place.

Friday morning, City Manager Johnny Martinez overturned his city attorney’s decision, sending out building officials en masse, who have since certified all the electrical, plumbing and structural concerns at the park.

Also on the scene were the city’s Fire Marshal, and representatives of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In December, the Miami city attorneys had issued a decision that the city did not need to issue a Temporary Use Permit, which would have triggered city-led inspections.

Still, Martinez noted that nothing collapsed as the concert was going on.

“They were building an LED screen,” he said.

The accident happened just before 8 p.m. Thursday; two workers helping to set up the main stage at Bayfront Park were critically injured when a giant LED screen fell.

Friday afternoon, one injured worker was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami Herald news partner CBS4-WFOR reported. Another, Joseph Green, remained at Jackson with two broken legs.

Two other workers were struck by the falling equipment. One was in stable condition, and the other was treated at the scene.

The accident apparently occurred as the giant screen, or Jumbotron, was being hoisted in the air to be part of the stage. Instead it crashed down on the workers.

Friday’s inspections kept festival gates closed while officials inspected the area.

By late afternoon, Miami Fire gave the all-clear for all six stages and gates opened by 5 p.m.

Miami police commander Lazaro Ferro said he does not believe the main stage accident will affect crowds through the weekend.

He said the goal is to make the stage safe for both the audience members and the artists who are performing there.

Meanwhile, traffic from the festival caused major headaches for people who live and work downtown. On Friday, even before the gates were open, traffic was snarled after the northbound lanes of Biscayne Boulevard closed from Southeast First Street to Third Street.

For the rest of the weekend, all southbound traffic along Biscayne Boulevard will be detoured at Northeast Fourth Street, west to Second Avenue, Miami Police said. Northbound traffic will be reduced to two lanes and shifted to the southbound lanes at Southeast First through Fourth Street.

Ultra Music Festival continues through 11 p.m. Sunday.

Miami Herald Staff Writer Charles Rabin contributed to this report.

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