Ultra Music Festival is facing a $10 million dollar lawsuit filed by security guard Erica Mack, who was trampled by festival-goers on opening day at last year’s event. Mack sustained a skull fracture, several broken bones and continues to undergo rehab for her injuries since March.
The basis of the lawsuit is that Ultra organizers failed to reinforce weak fencing at the area Mack was stationed at, ignoring a consultation by the Miami Police Department. The fencing was knocked over by a mob of gatecrashers, which crushed the 29-year old security guard and allowed them to rush in. Festival coordinators maintain that they can’t held responsible for the actions of the mob and are not at fault. Despite a proposed ban by city officials, Ultra will stay in Miami in its current location at Bayfront Park. However, organizers have raised the age restriction to 18+ in response to criticism.
The tragic incident at Ultra calls to question the security enforcement at events in our own backyard. If you attended Paradiso 2014, you may have been among the thousands who waited for hours in the entry lines. The combination of summer heat, long lines, and lack of access to water in those lines became an issue for many attendees. While the presence of the Conscious Crew helped significantly, USC Events acknowledged this issue following Paradiso,
We hear you loud and clear. There needs to be additional entry lanes. There needs to be additional staff members at the gates and that staff needs better training to ensure the entry process is fair to all and consistent with the rules/regulations stated prior to the event. The lines themselves need to be better organized to handle a mass amount of people as efficiently and comfortably as possible.
With the steady rise of electronic dance music and rave culture into the mainstream, events organizers like Ultra and USC are undoubtedly experiencing growing pains. The increasing number of festival-goers at EDM events pose issues of proper safety measures for both attendees and the fine folks of security and event staff. As the lawsuit between Ultra organizers and Mack plays out in court, we’re interested to see if any changes are made to security at our own Northwest events. Perhaps we need to plan ahead and prevent situations like this one from occurring here at home.