Ultra Miami is about to go down this weekend at its new home on Virginia Key. Which also happens to be the same home for protected wildlife including manatees, birds, crocodiles, and more. Non-profit Miami Waterkeeper and other environmentalists have raised concerns, but the music festival insists it will do no harm to the animals.
Addressing the concerns, Ultra reps previously outlined the measures being taken over the weekend. Styrofoam, plastic straws, and other single-use plastics like cups, balloons, confetti, and streamers have been prohibited. Cocktails will be served in paper or compostable cups. The festival will introduce more water stations in hopes to keep 227,375 water bottles off the premises.
According to Ultra, there will be fences around beaches and other sensitive areas for protection. Pocket ashtrays will be distributed. Alternates to fireworks with less debris will be used during the show. Finally, noise-mitigation will be implemented at some stages.
This is all a step in the right direction, but is it enough? Miami Waterkeeper’s executive director, Rachel Silverstein, describes the efforts as “completely insufficient.” She warns the music festival could have an impact on wildlife, which may be adversely affected by loud music. Her case argues the event could even violate state and federal laws that ban the harassment of threatened or endangered species.
The response from Ultra’s attorney Rafe Petersen: “Overall, the critique from Miami Waterkeeper does not raise any substantive issues warranting further response by the event organizers. That being said, the event organizers remain committed to environmental protection and will implement numerous environmental mitigation measures as well as a sustainability plan that will ensure the protection of Virginia Key.”
Miami Waterkeeper’s reply via Miami New Times: “Ultra’s response to our letter mischaracterizes both our letter and the relevant law. By declining to seek permits for potential impacts to wildlife, they leave themselves exposed to liability if [wildlife death or injury] does occur. Our letter provided suggestions to avoid potential impacts, which do not appear to have been addressed in their response.”
Ultra continues to focus on its “leave no trace” policy.
If you’re heading out to the festival, be extra aware of the environment surrounding the venue and please pick up after yourselves.
Photo by @Philippe Wuyts Photography | Source: Miami New Times