Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trouble for Riot Fest Denver?

From The Denver Post:

Riot Fest permit decision expected within 10 days for event in Byers

By John Aguilar

With Riot Fest scheduled in Byers less than three months away, it's not known what might happen to the three-day punk and rock festival — and the thousands of fans who plan to attend — should Arapahoe County deny a permit for the show.

County commissioners on Tuesday night listened to several hours of comments from residents of Byers, an agricultural community 40 miles east of Denver, many of whom said traffic problems, drug use and noise levels arising from last year's Riot Fest made it an unwelcome event this year.

The county must decide whether to issue festival organizers a temporary use permit, without which the Sept. 19-21 show at May Farms can't go on.

An Arapahoe County spokeswoman said Wednesday that a decision probably will be made by the zoning division within 10 days.

Riot Fest, which draws acts from the U.S. and abroad such as Primus, The Cure, Wu-Tang Clan and Slayer, is expected to attract 17,000 people a day.

George Whitesell, owner of Colorado Springs-based promotions outfit A Music Company Inc., said he wouldn't be surprised if organizers are in a bit of a "panic mode" at this point, given the fact that lower-priced tickets for the festival already are sold out.

"It's not a good situation for a promoter to be in," he said. "Contracts have been signed with artists."

Whitesell said he had to scramble a few years ago when Blues Under the Bridge, a Colorado Springs festival that his company runs, was nearly derailed because of unfiled paperwork.

The difference, he said, was that his festival is about 10 times smaller than Riot Fest and he had four months to correct a relatively minor problem. Finding a new venue for Riot Rest this late, he said, would be "highly improbable."

"I don't know what I'd do," Whitesell said. "I'd hate to be in those shoes."

Organizers for Riot Fest were decidedly mum Wednesday and did not return multiple calls and e-mails for comment.

Silent too was the festival's PR firm, Western Publicity. Its Denver-based promotions partner, Soda Jerk Presents, referred questions back to festival personnel.

Riot Fest organizer Max Wagner told The Denver Post last week that he's "confident that we're going to get to a place where the commissioners, the local community leaders are happy."

Gavin Beldt, who helped organize this weekend's South Park Music Festival in Fairplay, said if the permit is denied and there is no backup plan in place, Riot Fest organizers would have to issue refunds to everyone who purchased tickets.

Beldt said it's common for local authorities not to grant permits until a week or two before an event, but he said organizers are generally confident that approval from the city or county is forthcoming.

"Something pretty extravagant would have to happen to pull the plug," Beldt said. "As long as the (Riot Fest) team can prevail and show they're a responsible group, I don't see why (Arapahoe County officials) would not grant that."  (Thanks parallelextiction)

More articles about this: Denver Post, Denver Channel, CBS 4, Pollstar, Colorado Springs Independent 


  1. Replies
    1. Don't worry, David. If it gets canceled you will get your money back.

      Just wait on making your flight & hotel reservations until we know the outcome of this vote.

    2. heheh too late for me glad I took the insurance though

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    4. Denver is closer to California now I am thinking Toronto or Chicago I must see the cure ut lis one time this riot fest festeval

    5. Please don't change your plans, David. Chances are very good that this will get worked out and everything will be fine. The decision will be made in the next week to 10 days, and I will post an update as soon as we know.

      So for now, don't worry and don't change anything.

  2. it's all about the money... shake down for sure.

    i'm sure organizers allow money in their budget to account for these "last minute changes" and "permit problems"...

    1. That's pretty unfair to the county. Seems much more to do with a bunch of grumpy old people railing against "those damn kids with their weird hair and loud music and drugs".

      Not saying the residents don't have legitimate concerns, as I wasn't there last year, and have no idea what sort of hassles they faced.

      But Riot has already agreed to end the shows at an earlier time than last year, and we all know what that means.

    2. YEP NOT 4 HOUR CURE SETS I hate that I want my daughter to get a 4 hour show like I have had

    3. Well, you were never getting a 4 hour show. But ending earlier could mean 90 minutes instead of 120.

      But who knows, maybe they'll just decide to start it earlier too, and The Cure will get more time.

      Would love to see them get 3 hours, but thinking they'll get no more than 2.

  3. OMFG this better not fall apart already have tickets flight and hotels paid for

    1. I doubt it will. Seems a bit far along to cancel now. Hopefully just going through the normal process of letting residents vent about it, getting Riot to make a few changes, and then giving approval.

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    3. Me too I gat it redy flight and hotel the only un refundable May be the airline but let hope for the best

  4. I'll hold off booking my flight just in case. Was gonna book it this weekend. But I can wait a week. Hotel is refundable. Ticket would be too, if cancelled. But I'm sure like you said, it's most likely gonna happen.

  5. I literally JUST bought my ticket. I guess I'll hold off on the flight and room. I hope they sort this out.

  6. Wow. This was much more serious than I thought. Permit denied. Now they either have to hope to win an appeal, move it to a different location, or cancel it.

  7. What are the chances that they will find a new location?

    1. 100%. Will be announced early next week.