Tracing its origins back to 1999, the Ultra Music Festival has been an annual festival held in Miami, Florida, every March until 2020. It was canceled for the last two years thanks to COVID-19 rampaging across the United States. Fifty thousand fans were supposed to attend the festival until it was canceled, and now those fans will have to wait till 2022 at the earliest before they will be able to participate in the next Ultra Music Festival.
For the first two years of the Ultra Music Festival, it was held on a beach, but then in 2001, it was held for the first time at a bayfront location in Downtown Miami. Once it was moved to this bayfront location, the festival began to bloom in popularity. This move also helped the festival support a larger capacity for both performers and fans of electronic music over the coming years.
By 2002, the festival had already reached 200 performers, which overall was a good thing, but it did lead to increased problems, mainly drug problems. The drug problems became so bad that the community petitioned to have the festival shut down to curb the drug problem. A large portion of the petition were parents because there was a large number of underaged teens using drugs at the festival.
The petition was undertaken in 2003, but it was never passed, which fans of electronic music can be thankful for. However, security and police involvement at the festival was increased the next year and in the following years. This included not only just normal security and police involvement but also undercover police officers throughout the festival.
Between 2004 – 2006, the EDM industry began to see a decline, which could have been the death of the festival, but as all fans of electronic music can be thankful for, the festival continued to grow. By 2006, the festival had moved again. The festival moved this time to Bicentennial Park, which helped the festival grow in size once again. It expanded not only its amount of artists but also the genres that it had at the festival.
Over the years, the festival continued growing, with some of its best records being achieved during the 2014 festival. The 2014 festival managed to stretch over two weekends, which came to a total of six nights of the festival, music and fans enjoying themselves immensely. Not only did the festival last for two weekends, but it also saw the largest number of fans ever seen at the festival. That total was 330,000, and with that record high, security was finally able to be properly applied to the festival.
In 2015, the festival officially became 18+ to help keep underage drug usage and other problems under control and to cut back on the amount of backlash that the music festival received from some people. Besides making the festival 18+, enough security was finally present at the festival to hold back backstage rushes and keep the artists and fans safe during the festival.
In recent years, 2016 – 2018, the festival saw more backlash, and it eventually broke its deal with Miami. While this might have seemed like a good idea to residents of downtown Miami, the festival brought in a large amount of income for the surrounding area. In the upcoming years, they will be able to see just how badly it will affect the downtown area.