Ultra Music Festival Reportedly Being Called Off Once Again

Ultra Miami
Ultra Miami
– Ultra Miami
Miami’s Ultra Music Festival was one of the first U.S. events to be called off because of the coronavirus pandemic and now it looks like the virus has nixed the ’21 edition, which was supposed to take place March 26-28.
Ultra general counsel attorney Sandy York told Miami city manager Arthur Noriega in a letter dated Jan. 21 – which was obtained by Billboard and the Miami Herald, that with the spread of COVID-19 continuing to post a threat to public health – festival organizers expect the city to invoke the force majeure clause in the revocable license agreement between the city of Miami and the Event Entertainment Group.
The “underlying facts and circumstances that originally formulated the basis for the City to invoke Section 27 of the RLA and to declare Force Majeure in March of 2020 remain in place and, therefore, we anticipate that the City will again invoke the Force Majeure clause in the RLA. Once again cognizant of the requirement … that the event occur in a single weekend in March, we respectfully request the rescheduled dates to be March 25, 26 and 27, 2022,” York wrote. 
The letter went on to request that the city confirm in writing the rescheduled dates and that the “company’s obligations (including its payment obligations) will be deemed modified to correspond with the rescheduled dates.”  
Shortly after Ultra called off its 2020 flagship Miami event, the festival made headlines for offering ticketholders passes to the 2021 or 2022 editions in lieu of refunds. Two fans filed a class action lawsuit against Ultra in May, demanding to get their money back. Plaintiffs Samuel Hernandez and Richard Montoure filed the class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida May 26 “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” The suit notes that “plaintiffs believe, and on that basis allege, that the class consists of hundreds of thousands of people.”
Ultra’s website still lists the 2021 dates on its home page though a lineup has not been revealed. The dates were announced last March along with the 2020 postponement news, which came out just a few weeks before the festival was supposed to happen. The festival hasn’t updated its Facebook or Instagram pages since then. 
Ultra Music Festival’s 2020 festival was supposed to feature Flume, Major Lazer, Sofi Tukker, Zedd, and DJ sets from Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox and many others.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved the state into the third and final phase of re-opening in September, with the state’s “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step” Plan” dictating that large venues “should re-open fully with limited social distancing protocols.”  As previously reported, although DeSantis’ announcement gave bars, nightclubs, restaurants and all other businesses the go-ahead to immediately reopen at full capacity, the statewide opening rules allow local governments the ability to keep 50% capacity limits in place if justified for health or economic reasons. Some counties and cities quickly updated their emergency orders, keeping capacity and social distancing restrictions in place to protect residents against the spread of COVID, including the city of Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County.
Ultra has already hosted a full-scale, in-person festival during the pandemic, with “Road to Ultra: Taiwan 2020” held at Dajia Riverside Park in Taipei Nov. 14 with a reported 10,000 attendees. A few weeks earlier Taiwan hit a milestone by going 200 days without a locally transmitted COVID-19 case. 
At press time, Ultra had not returned Pollstar’s request for comment about its 2021 Miami event.
Earlier this month Glastonbury Festival canceled its 2021 event with a statement saying that “with great regret … this will be another enforced fallow year for us.” Fortress Festival, which was scheduled to take place April 24-25 in Fort Worth, Texas with a lineup featuring Diplo and Miguel, also called off its plans until 2022. 
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has responded to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic by pushing back its 2020 edition to the fall, with exact dates and additional details to come. The festival was supposed to take place April 23 through May 3 with a massive, multi-genre lineup topped by The Who, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lizzo and many more.
French Quarter Festival has been rescheduled from April 16-19 to Oct. 1-4. Fellow New Orleans event BUKU Music + Arts Festival announced in December that it was pushing its March 2021 event to March 2022; organizers will present BUKU: Planet B, “an immersive, one-time-only, alternative take on BUKU,” Oct. 22-23, 2021.