To the editor:
I utterly agree with Deb Drummet (Public Forum, June 15) that there are any number of positives to focus on with the Wakarusa festival - the extreme talent of the local folks in their amazing performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" being one of the high points.
I also agree that the festival brings many benefits to Douglas County in the form of revenue and exposure. It's because of that, however, that I shared the concerns about the overbearing police presence (and I must note that I am a gainfully employed, home-owning resident of Lawrence; not only transient "hippies" are concerned about this).
Second, I am a bit alarmed about Wakarusa organizer Brett Mosiman's (June 16) assessment of their management of not only security - which seems at odds with many attendees' experiences - but also his comment that the handling of Porta-Johns and trash was "impeccable." It seems that Mosiman must not have been present on the grounds of the main stages where every trash bin I saw was overflowing and where none of the Porta-Johns had toilet paper or filled hand-sanitizer dispensers. The campground toilets were similarly without toilet paper for most of the weekend. These seem like minor issues, but they significantly affect participants' enjoyment.
I recognize and congratulate the achievements involved in organizing what was a safe and entertaining festival. But if the management in these areas was impeccable, if this is the best we can do, Lawrencians should not feel secure about the city's high rankings on various "best of" national rankings.