Miami Commissioners Set To Vote on Extension of Ultra Music Festival

Some locals don't like the masses of visitors and music, but a downtown business owner says he wants a second weekend

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    TK
    NBC 6 South Florida
    Niyazi "Nick" Korkmaz said he welcomes a longer Ultra Music Festival.

    Every year, the Ultra Music Festival brings tens of thousands of people to Miami. It's so successful, organizers want to go from one weekend to two weekends.

    Some people know the music, traffic, and people a little too well, like Jeanette Sheppard. Her balcony overlooks Miami's Bayfront Park.

    "You look out there and it's just masses of people. Just masses," she said. "All you see is people. There's just people everywhere."

    Like some locals, Sheppard is not a fan.

    "Last year, me and my husband weren't able to get out of town and we still heard the music, but we figured okay, it's just three or four days, we'll be fine, but two weekends in a row – that's kind of a lot," said Sheppard, who formerly worked for NBC 6 South Florida.

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    This year, Ultra is scheduled for March 15-17, but organizers say it's so popular they want to extend it another weekend, March 22-24. Miami city commissioners will vote Thursday, and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's vote is likely to be a "no."

    In a meeting last month, he said, "We average about 30 people a day either urinating, defecating, or throwing up in our building, in the traffic garage. It's all captured on video."

    Sarnoff also said, "About 70-80 percent of these kids are on some sort of mind-altering drug."

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    But across the street from Bayfront Park at Miami Chophouse, the owner said bring on the second weekend.

    "There's nothing going on downtown on the weekend," Niyazi "Nick" Korkmaz said. "It's quiet, so it's great for business. I would love to have two weeks, or even longer."

    Last year, more than 165,000 people attended the three-day festival, with 70 percent of them traveling to South Florida. Ultra organizers estimate attendees bring in an estimated $80 million.

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