There is just one thing I have to get off my chest before the actual article get’s underway. The collapsed fence at Ultra should not have happened. No matter who is at fault, both the city of Miami and Ultra (and its affiliates) should have taken care of all precautionary measures and made sure that everything was in place as it should be, even if that means following up on a double or triple check.
Despite fingers being pointed at Ultra, it has come to light that the area where the fence was located was under the jurisdiction of Miami and its police department. After going through the User Agreement between Ultra and the city of Miami, Local 10 News found out that the point of interest was along the sidewalk, outside of Bayfront Park, the established grounds for the festival. Although Miami police did tell Ultra to fix/strengthen the fencing, they did not say how or what had to be done, yet Ultra supposedly said they would make the necessary changes. This is where things get even more cloudy regarding whose at fault for a situation that landed one person in critical condition.
Miami departments have refused any inquiries into public records that pertain to the matter at hand. A situation like this is not easy to assess; blame can be put on both sides, but given the fact that someone has been seriously injured due to no fault of their own, somebody is going to have to take the heat. Honestly, instead of pointing fingers, Miami and Ultra should come forth accepting what happened and move forward in the best way possible; first and foremost by making sure that security guard’s situation is taken care of physically and financially. Other events, including Ultra itself, can learn from these mistakes to better the festival experience for everybody, which includes making it safer.
When you step back and take a look at the big picture and who is really to blame, it is the fans. Not all the fans obviously, but for those who felt the Ultra desire bad enough to engulf a chain-link fence and topple it over, you should feel ashamed of yourselves, like really ashamed. Hell, I am even embarrassed just out of association. I hate to add to the broken record-ness of this saying, but think before you act. It’s not that hard. Even if you were someone who joined in the chaos after people already started, you are just as much at fault as the first idiot. If you can’t manage to get into an event in a legit way, then tough shit, you aren’t going and that is that.
Actions like this, on the part of the fans, event and city staff, can really hurt our scene. We can mirror instances like this, with the rambunctious acts that used to take place at wonderful places like Grateful Dead concerts. Despite the massively positive influence the band had on music history, it wasn’t without its fair share of mishaps and accidents. One being pretty much exactly the same, when a Deadhead riot took place (multiple did) and the result was… a crashed fence. Despite the positive messages being reverberated at these events, bad things happened because of ungrateful people. I don’t want to call anybody obscene names, but just have a listen to “Gatecrushers Suck” and a fair picture of the perpetrators is painted in lyric.
I’ll leave you with the notion that behavior at festivals NEEDS to get better. Drugs and stupidity will always be a part of the scene, let’s face it, but we can minimize the negative effects with education and unity. The growth dance music has seen over the past few years has prompted more and more fans, who turn into festival attendees, and the result of that boom is the growing opportunity for things to go wrong. Let’s combat that as aggressively as we can, whether we are fans, bloggers, promoters, DJs or city officials. We can make a difference.