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Miami’s Ultra Music Festival canceled over coronavirus fears

Carl Cox deejays at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami.
Carl Cox deejays at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, canceled as coronavirus spreads in the U.S.
(Ultra Music Festival)

Ultra Music Festival, the massive Miami electronic music event scheduled for later this month, has been called off over coronavirus fears, according to city officials.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo told reporters for the Miami Herald that the risks were too great for the festival, which draws 165,000 fans from around the world over three days to Miami’s Bayfront Park. The festival, technically just postponed, isn’t likely to be held until 2021, they said. A formal announcement from the festival is expected Friday.

“We’re saying suspend it to a later date when we’ll have a better idea of where we’re heading with the coronavirus,” Carollo told the Herald.

“I can tell you,” Mayor Suarez added, “just in the last 24 hours, I have received countless emails and messages of all kinds urging the city to act.”

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The state has confirmed at least three cases of COVID-19, with more expected to come.

Ultra is the first major U.S. music festival to be canceled over fears of the COVID-19 virus (the Korea Times Music Festival in Los Angeles was postponed over travel difficulties resulting from the outbreak) and the first time in 21 years that Ultra will not produce an event in Miami. The popular Latin musical festival Calle Ocho also may be at risk, city officials said.

The cancellation sets a tone of caution as other festivals, including South by Southwest, gear up in the coming weeks and fears of COVID-19 rattle the music industry. Although flagship events such as South by Southwest and Indio’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have yet to announce any changes in plans, Ultra’s cancellation suggests promoters are deeply worried about the virus’ potential impact.


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