Miami City Commissioners have allowed the Ultra Music Festival to expand to a second weekend despite concerns about drug use and traffic, The Miami Herald reported.
The commission decided to give the festival two weekends on a trial basis Thursday. For its part, Ultra offered to give the city $500,000 for extra police and fire services, and said it would hire more off-duty officers itself and improve its crowd control plan, according to the Herald.
The festival is scheduled for March 15-17 and March 22-24 in Bayfront Park.
Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff told NBC 6 South Florida Thursday that the second weekend was a bad idea in part because of all of the drugs.
“The second weekend also concerns me with the amount of drug consumption. As you know, ecstasy and LSD are the mainstay drugs there,” Sarnoff said.
Niyazi "Nick" Korkmaz, the owner of Miami Chophouse across from the park, has said he would love to have two weeks of the electronic music festival because it’s great for business.
But Sarnoff said there are downtown businesses and residents not interested in a second weekend of Ultra commotion.
“We have Jazz Fest in New Orleans, but it’s in the fairgrounds. New York City doesn’t do it directly in downtown New York,” he said. “Nobody does it right in their main artery of their business hub of their community. The business of Miami should be business.”
But some would argue that Ultra is big business, as tens of millions of dollars are pumped into the local economy over the three-day weekend.