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22 arrested, security guard trampled during first day of Ultra Music Festival

on March 29, 2014, 4:54pm

A security guard is in “extremely critical” condition after dozens of attendees stormed the gates at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, the Miami Herald reports. The 28-year-old guard, who is an employee of the festival contractor Contemporary Services Corporation, suffered severe brain hemorrhaging and a broken leg.

The incident occurred just hours before the EDM festival began on Friday afternoon. According to police reports, the guard was posted at the festival’s perimeter near Southeast First Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard. When festival-goers were let in around 4 p.m. local time, dozens of individuals attempted to break into the festival ground’s through the intersection, taking advantage of the distinct lack of “sturdier, unclimbable portable fencing in use in other areas.”

A total of 22 people were arrested during the first day of Ultra, including 15 individuals who were charged with felonies. It’s unclear how many of those arrests were related to the stampede, however Miami’s homicide unit is currently looking for witnesses to the episode.

In a statement, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado thoroughly condemned Ultra’s organizers, saying they “acted irresponsibly” by not securing the necessary barricades and reinforcements. “I think we should not have Ultra next year here,” Regalado told the Miami Herald Saturday morning. “This incident should never have happened.”

It’s not the first time Miami city officials have expressed concerns with Ultra, which is expected to draw in over 165,000 attendees over its three-day run. As SPIN points out, organizers and the Miami City Commission clashed in 2013 when the festival announced plans to extend to two weekends. (They’ve since reverted back to a single weekend.) In several meetings last year, commissioner Marc Sarnoff admonished Ultra for their “lax security”, adding, “You’ve been very, very lucky. You put two of these weekends together in a row, I don’t think you’re going to be so lucky.”

The incident comes just weeks after Tyler, the Creator was arrested for allegedly inciting gate-crashers during a show at South by Southwest.

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