After Ultra was forced to move from its downtown Miami location this year, it appears that the new site is in jeopardy as well. The festival, which is the world’s premier early-season event, continues to struggle with finding a permanent home as the Virginia Key Advisory Board voted against allowing Ultra to return. Although the decision does not have a direct result on the Miami City Council’s upcoming May 9 vote on the issue, it is a major blow to the festival’s chances of returning in 2020.
The main reason for this vote was a report released by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, which claims that the festival caused extreme stress on the local fish population. At the University of Miami Experimental Hatchery, noise levels were measured and stress levels of toadfish at the center were also noted. The results concluded that the fish did see a statistically significant increase in cortisol (stress hormone) levels. While reports were conclusive that heightened stress levels were only short-term in nature, the findings were enough to help convince the board to vote down the festival’s potential return to Virginia Key next year.
All of this comes despite the noise levels being “well within permitted limits,” according to the official report. It is not clear if there is anything that festival organizers could have done differently to mitigate this result, but it is clear that Ultra will face an uphill battle in the coming days to ensure the future of the event.
Read the full report here.