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Ultra Festival Miami set to be cancelled for second year in a row

By | Published on Monday 25 January 2021

Ultra Miami

For many in the music world this time last year, the first sign that this whole COVID-19 thing might be a big issue was the cancellation of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. Now it has emerged that organisers are looking to cancel the 2021 edition too, which was set for March.

Technically, organisers are seeking to extend the postponement of the 2020 Ultra event, having already pushed back its dates by twelve months, rather that actually cancelling it. This allows organisers to roll over tickets to the next edition, rather than having to offer refunds to everyone. That policy – although now pretty par for the course – proved controversial last year.

In a letter to Miami city manager Arthur Noriega, obtained by Billboard, Ultra attorney Sandy York says that organisers are expecting that city officials will again “invoke the force majeure clause” in the event’s licence agreement, forcing a cancellation. Pre-empting that, they now “respectfully request” that the dates for the event be moved back to the end of March 2022.

Assuming this request is granted, those who already transferred their tickets to the 2021 dates will presumable have them shifted to 2022 instead. Ultra had already offered the opportunity to transfer tickets to 2022, so it may now also offer ticketholders the opportunity to defer to 2023 as well.

In the UK, of course, Glastonbury beat Ultra to the cancellation party, calling off its 2021 edition with five months notice. Event organiser Emily Eavis told the Guardian last week that there may still be performances on the festival site in June, although they would be livestreamed rather than happening in front of an audience.

Meanwhile, The Flaming Lips did manage to play live shows on Friday and Saturday, by sealing audience members in inflatable bubbles. The two shows at the Criterion in the band’s hometown of Oklahoma City saw them play in front of 100 bubbles, each containing one or two people. Each member of the band was also similarly sealed off from the outside world.