Archive for Saturday, June 10, 2006

Logistical problems strike sour note for some

June 10, 2006

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It sounds like the ideal menu to market at a hippie-filled music festival: smoothies, wheat grass and organic, locally raised meat.

But for two local merchants, the sales were frustratingly slow Thursday and Friday at the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival. Representatives of Local Burger and Juice Stop said they signed on thinking they'd be near a kids' stage, yoga area and DJ stage in the festival campgrounds.

Instead, they ended up with just the DJ stage, in a fenced-off area parallel to the main entrance walkway that wasn't getting much foot traffic. They each had signed a sponsorship deal not with the festival, but with a subcontractor who was producing the DJ stage.

"I should have informed myself more," said Hilary Brown, owner of Local Burger. "I pray to break even in four days."

Brown paid $750 up front, with an agreement to pay $750 more at the end of the festival. Juice Stop paid $3,500 for its booth.

Nic Beck, general manager of Juice Stop, said he was promised a tent that didn't arrive until about 6 p.m. Thursday, after he and his employees had spent all day in the sun.

"We're local businesses, and we're the ones that get the shaft out here," Beck said. "I would like to have seen us treated better ... I feel like a chump."

The DJ stage's organizer, John Gallup of Cicada Rhythm, blamed communication and logistical problems with the festival's organizers. He said that when he arrived at the festival a week ago, the stage in the campground area was too small, on a slant and too near sleeping areas, so it was moved to the new location and separated from the kids' and yoga area.

"When we got there the week before the festival, it all fell apart," he said. "It's been a rough road for me."

Brett Mosiman, the festival's organizer, said he had "grave concerns" about how that part of the event turned out, but that he didn't want to point fingers. He said Gallup was given a spot on the map to run the stage as a self-contained "turnkey" operation.

"We won't be giving away access to the festival in the future," he said. "It's an element of the festival that I'm not so sure will be back. We had different visions than what was entailed with his work."

In other areas of the festival, business was better.

In the festival-approved vending booths, people sold a rainbow-colored array of skirts, framed pictures, glass pipes, crocheted clothing and incense. That was in addition to plenty of kebabs, wraps and the "benevolent burrito" for sale at one stand.

Unsanctioned vending has been a part of the festival scene at Wakarusa the past three years, but this year organizers have said they're trying to stop it. Campers described security officers going tent to tent warning people that they'd be kicked out if they were caught. Jen Ramirez, of Fort Collins, Colo., said the warning was a letdown, given that people in the campgrounds normally keep each other in supply by selling items such as food, drinks, clothes, glass and hula hoops.

"It's a way of taking care of each other," she said.

Josh Sarvis of Oregon-based Dragonfly Imports, who was selling clothing in an officially sanctioned booth, said he wasn't too worried about the black market detracting from his sales.

"It's sort of like trying to tame a wild beast," he said. "This whole thing is built off that. It's not one without the other. It's the same."

He and his co-workers typically travel to southeast Asia during the winter, work at a free clinic there and design clothing, then travel throughout the U.S. during the summer selling their wares at festivals. They got their start about 20 years ago traveling with the Grateful Dead.

"It all is magic, and we're doing the best we can to follow what works," he said. "It supports us and our families. We do well - well enough to keep going each time."

Greta Kraus, of Lawrence, was working a beer stand to benefit Douglas County Infant-Toddler Coordinating Council, which provides services for children with developmental disabilities and their parents. Each year the festival's organizers allow local nonprofits to raise money through the stands.

"I really like it that they give it to nonprofits instead of just making money," she said.

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Comments

Confrontation 11 years, 4 months ago

"Greta Kraus, of Lawrence, was working a beer stand to benefit Douglas County Infant-Toddler Coordinating Council, which provides services for children with developmental disabilities and their parents."

This seems like a conflict of interest. Children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome have serious developmental disabilities. Why would someone who helps kids like this really want to work at a beer stand?

geekin_topekan 11 years, 4 months ago

he and his co-workers typically travel to southeast Asia during the winter, work at a free clinic there and design clothing, then travel throughout the U.S. during the summer selling their wares at festivals. They got their start about 20 years ago traveling with the Grateful Dead. ++++++ Interesting.I wonder who actually manufactures the clothing.....in Southeast Asia.

nicole 11 years, 4 months ago

dj stage organizer john gallup was not paid for his work, nor was he ever going to be. John also did not have a budget, which means any help he got was by chance. he had to find his own sponsors in an effort to bring in headliners to make it special. brett took most of these sponsors, asked for much more money from them and turned most of them away from sponsoring anything at all. (i.e. scion)

by saturday, local burger was out of condiments (a good thing?)

i assume they ended up doing really well. (no offense but a festival is the only place where their prices seem somewhat reasonable)

it's miracle john was able to do everything he did with that stage considering all the forces against him.

LunaUndone 11 years, 4 months ago

I wish that the Journal World had come by the Third Planet booth and asked us how it was going. The layout for ALL of the vendors was terrible. But Juice Stop and Local Burger definitely had the biggest shaft. As for Local Burgers prices, they weren't any more than the other burger stands up in the concert grounds, and the guys up in the concert grounds didn't EVEN have organic, local, free-range offerings...that stuff costs more, sorry, it's a fact. And I think the Waka attendees would have appreciated that had they been able to access both stands with any ease. As it was on most of Sunday the gate to those two booths was CLOSED!!!! Ridiculous. As for the organization issues and the subcontracting, I cannot say...we went straight to the source, had our application in three days after apps were even available and were still not given a phone number to call, or ever able to SPEAK to a real live person until set up day. That was nerve wracking for a small business that has just laid out a serious investment. There will be more on other stories. Blessed Be and Namaste, Luna

nicole 11 years, 4 months ago

your right luna, local burger was an amazing deal compared to the other vendors......as for the "sub-contracting" of that stage, it's hilarious to even use that word. the organizer for that stage paid for everything, including hi profile headliner djs like Bassnectar and Kenny Larkin, with three sponsors and money out his own pocket... he was hoping to make up for it with glowstick sales...

he wasn't sub-contracted, he was used. he should have known better, but he really wanted to bring an electronic stage, like they have coachella and bonaroo, silly man.

so if you didnt like the electronic stage, take comfort in the fact that Gallup ended up in the hole while mosiman made literally millions of dollars in profit

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