Ultra Music Festival (Tim Mosenfelder, via Getty)

The Ultra Music Festival, the Miami dance music bacchanal, went down this weekend, and one deeply troubling event further illustrated the idea that the culture of rowdy inebriation surrounding many festival is getting out of control. On Friday night, a group of fans who didn’t have tickets stormed one section of the fence, trampling the 28-year-old security guard Erica Mack in the process, as CBS Miami reports. The crowd pushed over a section of fence, trapping Mack under it and then running over her to get into the festival grounds. Mack has suffered severe brain hemorrhaging, and she’s in critical but stable condition at an area hospital. Miami police, surveying the event beforehand, told organizers to add additional fencing in the area where the gate-crash happened, and they did not comply. And now Miami mayor Tomas Regalato has joined many local official in calling for an end to Ultra.

On Sunday, Regalado said, “The organizers of Ultra did not follow the police directive to re-enforce the fence, even though they knew that this year, and the year before, some kids have tried to over run the fences. In the next weeks, we are going to have a discussion on the city commission level to deny the permits for next year for the event here in the city of Miami.” City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff added that Ultra’s organizers have “overstayed their welcome.”

The Ultra festival has been held in Miami since 1999, and this year’s festival featured marquee attractions like Armin Van Buuren, Skrillex, Diplo, Zedd, David Guetta, Tiësto, and Deadmau5, the last of whom was a last-minute replacement for Avicii, who had to cancel because he was having emergency surgery for a blocked gallbladder. Billboard reports that Deadmau5 remixed Martin Garrix’s track “Animals,” mixing it with “Old McDonald Had A Farm,” possibly trolling Garrix and/or the audience in the process. And in further appalling Ultra news, Icona Pop posted an Instagram photo with Waka Flocka Flame, misidentifying him as Ty Dolla $ign — especially egregious when you consider that Icona Pop and Ty$ reportedly have a song coming out together.

Seriously, though, most of the reports surrounding Ultra make it sound like a special kind of hell. That CBS Miami news report lists 55 arrests in the first two days, for offenses like drugs and gatecrashing. Drugs and dance music go together like champagne and strawberries, but when you get into vast, hot, overcrowded outdoor spaces like this, the combination can be very dangerous. And according to that report, Miami Police had to build special vehicles to get through the crowd to reach incapacitated festivalgoers, making 55 rescues in one day alone.

[Photo by Tim Mosenfelder, via Getty Images]

Comments (9)
  1. Man, why can’t EDM just die already? For a genre that’s all about “having a good time,” it sure fucks up a lot of lives. Electric Zoo has already been problematic in the past, and now this. At 2010′s Coachella, which I felt was a pretty EDM-friendly lineup, there were gatecrashers as well and the resulting over-stuffing of rowdy, inebriated people on the grounds made for the first time I felt a sense of panic and lack of safety just being there. You literally couldn’t even walk through the furthest sections beyond the stages and tens because there were just drunk, drugged up kids dancing everywhere showing no regard for others. I’m actually kind of worried about this year because it also is fairly EDM-heavy, but at the very least, Coachella has bumped up security exponentially since the 2010 debacle.

    • I think it’s more about the size of these events than the genre. The bigger it is, the harder it is to keep any eye out for gatecrashers, drugs, underage drinkers, violence, etc. It’s hot, it’s expensive, it’s crowded, people feel de-individualized and therefore feel like it is more acceptable to act out on impulses. I’ve been to festivals that weren’t EDM heavy and outside of not having stuff like Molly being handed out like candy, it’s not too much different. Every year a festival tries to be bigger and bigger, with more artists, more events, more people, more vendors. Hopefully Woodstock ’99 will stay a faint memory, if you remember that fiasco: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_99

  2. “shoulda stayed at home with the bros”

  3. That picture makes it look like a great time! Thousands of bros in tank tops squeezed in there dick to ass. Where do I sign up?

  4. Electronic music can be wonderful, obviously… but ‘EDM’ is, in general, vomit inducing crap made for total fucking douchebags.

  5. “Seriously, though, most of the reports surrounding Ultra make it sound like a special kind of hell.”

    It took you seeing new reports to realize that? I could tell just by the pictures.

  6. it’s not the genre itself, is the people that can’t have a good time without drugs, and in this case there is no age limit, so you are gonna see a hell of a lot of teenagers and kids poping acids or whatever and they don’t have any self control, this should be outside the city they are putting lifes in danger.

  7. It’s the genre. EDM must die! mwa hahahahahahahah

  8. You cant look at this from a point of view of “EDM is a terrible genre and that’s the problem” because its not. Ultra is one of the biggest music festivals in the entire world attracting people from all over the world to Miami to attending the event and enjoy themselves. should the girl have been trampled? of course not! that’s wrong for any event and it happens at concerts and festivals for all genres. If there is something that should be fixed it should be the security around the event. I’m no Miami native but i LOVE the city for everything that i see it stands for, and Ultra brings a vibe to the entire city that is unheard of in any other city. I was in Miami the week they were setting up the stages and the fences, and the only thing holding anyone back from walking right on in is one layer of chain linked fence. put more fences or stronger fences and you can definitely hold back these “rushers”. as for the drugs NOBODY can harp on this. Ultra is actually one of the most anti drug festivals i have heard of. even then before ULTRA Miami itself and bay front park are all infested with drugs and druggies. I was at bay front park before new years eve and a few days after as well and you can see drugged up people all over the place, and don’t get me wrong not everyone there is drugged up but there are people who are and its noticeable. now banning Ultra from Miami is beyond a dumb decision. Ultra itself made 30 million on ticket sales ALONE! that is not including the 750 dollar a pop VIP tickets. the city of Miami itself also Makes 1.2 million and that all goes to the cops and security who worked the festival. ULTRA PUMPS MONEY INTO MIAMI and surrounding area (ft lauderdale, yes people travel from ft lauderdale to Miami from hotels) at a time of the year where its only the Miami heat basketball team and the cities year round beauty bringing in money. With all this being said i do not think that ultra will be ban next year and for future years, i DO think that there will be an increase in security in every way shape and form (rightfully so) and people get this through your head….. music genres do not die. EDM will NEVER die.

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