Ultra Music Festival was set to celebrate its twenty-first season this past March 2020 before abruptly cancelling two weeks before the scheduled date due to coronavirus shutdowns. Ultra Miami was the first major festival to cancel as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns that swept through the United States starting mid-March. Shortly after, other major festivals followed suit with the cancellation of Coachella and South By Southwest.
As a resolution to the cancellation, Ultra offered fans the chance to use tickets for the postponed event for either the 2021 or 2022 year along with a variety of specials, discounts, and more. The notice sent to fans made no mention of a refund or reimbursement, leaving fans frustrated and upset at the monetary loss for flights, hotels, and tickets. After receiving pushback for this decision, attendees have filed a class action lawsuit against Ultra demanding a refund on tickets in the full amount paid.
This lawsuit marks one of many struggles the festival has faced over the last few years, including a lawsuit earlier this year as Ultra geared up to return back to Bayfront Park. The festival has long been protested by Miami residents that have filed complaints due to noise and traffic during Miami Music Week. The festival traditionally took place at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami each year but after facing backlash during 2019, the festival temporarily relocated to Virginia Keys. This year was promoted as the big return to the original location.
Ultra Music Festival has been on rollercoaster in recent times despite remaining one of the most popular festivals, but fans felt extremely betrayed with the lack of refunds for tickets. According to the terms and conditions, tickets are nonrefundable and reserves this right regardless of the situation. Granted, the cancellation was put into place by the City of Miami and the decision was not in Ultra’s control. However, they have the right to either issue a refund at their discretion, postpone the event for a later date, or provide offers that “make good” on the purchase.
The lawsuit has two plaintiffs as part of the class action suit. The first is Samuel Hernandez, who had purchased six tickets for a total of $6,000 and was only able utilize two of the six for the rescheduled dates. The other is Richard Montoure, who purchased tickets and had inquired about a refund on the tickets without a response from Ultra. Ultra then advised that they would extend an option for refund through April 9th, but they never refunded the tickets.
According to the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, “We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every part of the global economy but we do not believe that gives the Ultra Music Festival the right to shift the burden of this extraordinary crisis onto its customers, who, in some cases, paid hundreds of dollars to attend this festival and now the COVID-19 pandemic has or will preclude them from ever using any credit.” Ultra has not yet responded for a statement.
Stay tuned for more as the case develops.