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Miami mayor questions Ultra Festival future after stampede critically injures security guard

By | Published on Monday 31 March 2014

Ultra Festival

A security guard is in an “extremely critical” condition after being injured during an incident at the flagship edition of the Ultra dance music festival in Miami this weekend.

According to local media, Erica Mack is suffering from brain haemorrhaging and a broken leg after fans with no tickets pushed down a chain link fence to gain access to the Miami event on Friday. A rep from the local fire-rescue department told the Miami New Times: “She was doing what she was supposed to do, telling them to stop [trying to break into the site]. When they pushed [the fence] down and it fell on top of her… They just trampled her”.

While police have begun an investigation to find those who instigated the stampede that led to Mack’s injuries, city authorities have criticised organisers of the Ultra Festival, insisting that police reps had told promoters to re-enforce this particular length of fence, which is reportedly less sturdy than elsewhere around the site, and which people had allegedly attempted to cross in previous years.

Billboard quotes Miami mayor Tomas Regalado as saying: “What happened this weekend is an event that could have been avoided. The organisers of Ultra did not follow the police directive to re-enforce the fence, even though they knew that this year, and the year before, some kids have tried to over run the fences”.

Regalado went on to say that he was now seeking to stop the Ultra festival from happening in the city next year, despite its long presence in Miami alongside the dance music community’s annual Winter Music Conference. The mayor went on: “This is not an accident. This is something that could have been avoided. So in the next weeks we are going to have a discussion on the city commission level to deny the permits for next year for the event here in the city of Miami”.

Organisers of the festival issued a statement yesterday saying that they hoped that Mack would have a “swift and full recovery”, adding: “Preliminary investigations show that the incident was caused by individuals not in possession of event tickets and who were determined to gain unauthorised entry. Every year the event organisers work collaboratively with police and other municipal partners along with the organisers’ independent security partners to ensure the safety of all patrons, crew and working personnel. Because a thorough investigation is underway, event organisers regret that additional comment cannot be provided at this time. The event coordinators are cooperating fully with investigative authorities”.

Elsewhere at the Ultra weekender, headliner Avicii was forced to pull out after being diagnosed with a blocked gall bladder. Deadmau5 stood in.