The readers’ forum

Don’t punish Ultra Music Festival because of a few

 

The horrible tragedy that occurred at Ultra Music Festival, in which security guard Erica Mack was trampled by gatecrashers, is unacceptable. I pray that she makes a speedy and full recovery and that those who caused her injuries are apprehended and held responsible for their indifference and recklessness.

The mayor of Miami and commissioners have made public comments about this tragedy and why it should serve as the impetus for ousting Ultra Music Festival from Miami. The city of Miami is being courted by soccer, yet the city is eager to find a home for a world-class soccer facility. Do we really want families, friends and residents to be subjected to public intoxication, fan rowdiness and increased traffic in the downtown area?

I suspect that many readers will find my comment ridiculous. I also hope that readers will find our public officials’ comments about Ultra equally ridiculous. I must admit that I have never attended a professional soccer match. Have the mayor or commissioners ever spent a day at Ultra?

I am 50 years old and a native of Miami. I have attended Ultra Music Festival for the past two years and found it to be a fascinating and enjoyable cultural experience. Our city is privileged to host this internationally recognized and attended musical happening. I know that I am an outlier in the typical demographics for this festival. However, what I have experienced while there is a safe, well-managed, exciting large-scale event with ample police and fire-rescue presence and tens of thousands of enthusiastic, happy ticketed guests. Most important, I have seen no violence. For a number of years, my three children have all attended on their own with many of their friends, and they all returned home safely with glowing reports.

It’s unfair for city officials to blame Ultra as an underlying cause of increased drug use, rowdiness and traffic issues. The gatecrashers made a serious mistake and their acts were despicable, but they do not represent the majority of attendees. The entire Ultra Music Festival population and our city should not be punished because of the indiscretion and unlawfulness of a few. If city officials think that they must call for an end to Ultra, then I urge them to also block the development of a soccer stadium in Miami so that we can prevent further injuries, intoxication and heavy traffic downtown.

Randall C. Fisher, Miami

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