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]