Downtown Miami’s fledgling residential community flexed its collective muscle Tuesday, delivering more than 1,000 petition signatures from people calling on Bayfront Park to stop hosting the large festivals that have put the venue on the map as an internationally relevant music venue.
The petitions, circulated by the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, urge Miami’s Bayfront Park Management Trust not to renew an expiring contract to hold Ultra Music Festival, among the world’s preeminent electronic dance music events. They also demand that the public agency tell Dope Ent, the group that held the three-day hip-hop festival Rolling Loud in May, to find a new home.
The petitions are the latest salvo in the growing feud between downtown’s residential community and its entertainment scene, which have come into conflict following a dramatic boom in condo and apartment towers. Increasingly frustrated residents have been vocal this year in fighting for enforcement of the city’s noise ordinances, and for fewer large, intrusive events at Bayfront Park.
In a statement circulated with the petitions, the neighborhood group said its effort “demonstrates the level of anger and frustration that downtown residents experience as a result of being ignored by city officials, the ongoing disruptions to residential life and the prolonged closure of Bayfront Park.” The group says it’s not opposed to events at Bayfront’s Klipsch Ampitheater, but rather multi-day events that require the closure of the park.
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Whether the increased pressure on Miami’s political establishment to back away from the events has any short-term consequences remains to be seen. Ultra, in particular, has survived several calls to end its run in downtown Miami, and remains among the most recognized music festivals in the world.
Neither Bayfront Chairman Frank Carollo, nor attorneys for Ultra Music Festival or Dope Ent responded to requests for comment.
Rolling Loud was held this year on a one-off contract, but festival co-founder Tariq Cherif says the event will return to Miami next year. Event Entertainment Group, the group behind Ultra, has a contract that runs through 2018, when organizers will celebrate its 20th anniversary.