Ultra Music Festival, Miami’s annual extravaganza of electronic dance music, has gone from domes, tents and stages to the courtroom.
Erica Mack, a private security guard at the March event, was left in what police described at the time as “extremely critical” condition after gatecrashers stormed a fence and trampled her. On Monday, as Billboard reports, Mack filed a lawsuit against Ultra, its parent company Event Entertainment Group and the City of Miami, as well the concessions, security and fencing companies for the festival. She’s asking for more than $10 million, plus legal expenses.
The suit centers on a tougher type of fencing known as “G8″ fencing. The lawsuit claims the concessions company, Best Beverage Catering, has asked for no G8 fencing in the area Mack was guarding. This allowed the company to move its equipment in and out more smoothly, but it allegedly went against police warnings the day of the event that the area was at risk. Mack ultimately suffered two skull fractures, bleeding in her brain and three fractures in her leg.
Next year’s Ultra Music Festival takes place March 27 to 29. The festival issued a lengthy statement, below, to local news media on Friday ahead of the lawsuit:
The safety of our event, fans, crew and personnel has always been our number one concern. Despite our best efforts to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable event for our patrons and staff, certain criminal acts will always be beyond our control even though we continue to assure that security is of prime importance. Indeed, we never condone any criminal activities, especially those of a few unlawful gatecrashers whose actions are both illegal and reprehensible.
Since its inception in 1999, producers of Ultra Music Festival have continually adapted security measures to assure that the event is safe. In fact, during the 2014 event, organizers worked directly and collaboratively with the Bayfront Park Management Trust, the City of Miami Police Department, the DEA, Homeland Security and CSC, one of the nation’s top rated private security companies, in deploying the biggest security team in the event’s history. Daily security personnel for each of the three days included: 257 police officers per day, 49 more per day than the previous year, 18 undercover officers, and 12 bike detail (totaling 36 bike detail), in addition to various other high-level security measures throughout the production.
To further serve our events professional environment, earlier this year event organizers hired Ray Martinez, who recently retired as the Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department, to head security measures. We know Chief Martinez will continue to assure we provide the highest of quality in our approach to the event’s experience. In fact, event organizers and Chief Martinez are presently working with officials from Bayfront Park, the City of Miami Police Department and others to assure that the 2015 event remains at the forefront of successful festivals for all patrons.
We continue to wish Ms. Mack the best for her future and hope she has made a full and complete recovery, but the complaint her lawyers have now filed as part of a lawsuit does not properly recite the facts of the unfortunate accident. Without question, event organizers believe that the incident was caused by illegal actions of unknown third parties for which it is not responsible.