Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wakarusa Festival may get clearance to move from Clinton Lake to Jefferson County ranch

Decision rests with officials; neighbors ask whether land can handle it

Organizers of the Wakarusa Music Festival may have found a new venue for next year's show.

October 22, 2008, 11:48 a.m. Updated October 22, 2008, 2:50 p.m.


2008 Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival

The fifth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival starts on June 5th and runs through June 8th. Organizers are planning on more than 13,500 guests, which would make Clinton State Park the second-largest city in Douglas County until the festival wraps up. See videos, photo galleries, the Wak Talk blog, Best Bets, and more about the Wakarusa Fest.

The Wakarusa Music Festival is working to leave its home at Clinton State Park again and relocate to Jefferson County.

Jefferson County officials have confirmed that the Circle S Ranch - a bed and breakfast north of Lawrence in Jefferson County - has filed for a permit to host the multiday camping and music festival this summer.

The festival unsuccessfully sought to move to the location last year, but Jefferson County commissioners denied the request on a 2-1 vote. But now at least one of the commissioners who voted against the project last year said he's willing to entertain the idea again, in part because he's had more time to gather information on the event.

"What little I've talked to the promoters, I think they are more than cooperative," said Jefferson County Commissioner Don Edmonds. "I think they will do everything they can within reason to make it fit out there."

Festival promoter Brett Mosiman declined to comment on the potential move.

Attempts to reach the owners of the Circle S Ranch were not successful.

According to the application, organizers are seeking to hold the event from June 18 to June 21, and expect up to 20,000 people to attend each day.

Neighbors near the Circle S Ranch - which is about 12 miles north of Lawrence off of Wellman Road - said they're watching with interest.

"Last year, the main argument was that the infrastructure couldn't handle it, and I can't see that anything has changed with that," said Harold Reed, who owns property immediately adjacent to the site.

About two miles of gravel roads lead to the site, and neighbors previously have questioned whether Jefferson County has enough law enforcement and medical personnel to serve the event.

But organizers said in a letter to commissioners that they were confident they could address any concerns. Among items they proposed are:

¢ The use of Douglas County or Jefferson County law enforcement officers to direct traffic at the Midland Junction intersection where Wellman Road and U.S. Highway 24-59 intersect.

¢ Hiring 75 to 100 private security guards, and paying Jefferson County to provide two off-duty sheriff's deputies to staff the duration of the event.

¢ Paying Jefferson County officials to have an ambulance and EMT crew on scene for the entire festival.

¢ Applying a dust palliative to the gravel roads surrounding the site.

The potential change in location for the festival comes after festival promoters publicly aired complaints about how the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has treated the festival while it has been at Clinton State Park.

Mosiman in August accused Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials of discrimination, saying the department treats his largely "hippie" crowd different from those attending a country music festival held on state property at Tuttle Creek Reservoir.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials denied those allegations. But Amy Thornton, an attorney with the department, said if the event doesn't win approval in Jefferson County, it appeared unlikely it would return to Clinton State Park.

She said the festival had unpaid bills to the department of about $25,000 from this year's event. She said Wakarusa organizers had not contacted the department about opening negotiations for a lease in 2009, and she said the department would not open negotiations until the current bills are paid.

"We know they're looking at another site, and I think it is probably a good thing for their business and for ours," Thornton said.

Jefferson County commissioners are scheduled to discuss the permit at 10 a.m. Monday at their commission meeting at the county courthouse in Oskaloosa.


KS 9 years, 1 month ago

Revenue? The only revenue is the tickets and fines. Go Jefferson County. You can have it. Goodbye.

acg 9 years, 1 month ago

The ignorance of people never ceases to amaze/amuse me. Ever been to Waka deja? Or did you make your hasty generalization based on second hand information? Way to be informed and on top of things. Because someone you obviously have no respect for, based on the tone of your comments regarding your sister, you're just sure that this is a dirty hippy drug fest, huh? That's nice and totally open minded.

Jason14 9 years, 1 month ago

This would have to be a great move for Jefferson County. Think about the amount of money this type of an event could bring to Jefferson County. Could be a little culture shock, but with the direction the economy is heading, a high tax yielding event in a low tax yielding county. Couple this with the possibility, pending it's own success, of it occurring on an annual basis seems like a winner. Go for it!

Bud Stagg 9 years, 1 month ago

I would doubt that there is that much sales tax revenue from a bunch of broke hippies who hitchhike to get here. Get a few little league baseball tournaments to come to town and you can replace that in a hurry. They would spend a ton eating out, staying in hotels and buying Jayhawk stuff.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

Having been to both several times, I can say that Wakarusa is no more a "hippy drug fest" than is the bluegrass festival in Winfield. Some of the locals there don't like it, but most recognize that it's good for their economy, and they know that the vast majority of those attending are there merely to enjoy the music and hang with friends, and are no cause for alarm. I expect that Jefferson County will adopt a similar attitude if the Wakfest does move there.

Boeing 9 years ago

I have been to Wakarusa twice for a few shows (no camping or anything), but all I can say is...don't let the door hit you on the way up to Jeff Co.

flux 9 years, 1 month ago

Lets send all that revenue to Jefferson County, good job Lawrence!

Deja Coffin 9 years, 1 month ago

Well looks like I'll be avoiding Wellman Road for that week. Do we really think Jefferson County has enough officers, paramedics, etc. to host such a growing event? Plus, clean my butt. Unfortunately my hippie sister has let me know in great detail what kind of illegal drugs are passed around there. Although, the soft pounding from the drum circles may help me ease off to sleep at night. Shoot, what am I saying, Donnie, vote no to the hippie fest!

bluzhawk 9 years ago

Why not slap it on somewhere over by the Speedway. WyCo is all about $$$$.

flux 9 years, 1 month ago

Whether people want to believe it or not, it really was a clean and freindly festival. It really did get a bad rap for no good reason.

newsreader 9 years, 1 month ago

the sales tax we will lose from the liquor stores, grocery stores, gas stations, event merchandise will be huge...

PebblesFlintstone 9 years ago

Which brings up an interesting question - Where is the followup story on "Get Down Town"? Mosiman was promising thousands of people and the city handed him $20,000 to do it. Was there ever a report on the impact? Or can we all just ask the city for a few grand to hold a barbecue and never have to account for it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

"Revenue? The only revenue is the tickets and fines. Go Jefferson County. You can have it. Goodbye."Not true-- sales taxes are due on every sale made there.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 1 month ago

Well hopefully all the hippies will commute to Lawrence and go to Burger King when they got the munchies and not Masterfarms in McLouth.

dweezil222 9 years, 1 month ago

Even granting that the cleanup costs after the festival are probably substantial, I have a hard time believing that it wasn't a money-maker for the county. Especially given the enormous number of fast-foot burgers stoned festivalgoers had to have purchased.

countrygirl 9 years, 1 month ago

From where this place is on Wellman Road, the liquor stores in Lawrence may still be closer than anywhere in Jefferson County.

honestone 9 years, 1 month ago

Revenue? Have the promoters paid the vendors from the last Wakafest? I was to understand that it hasn't ever "made" money. Good Luck

Write2Know 9 years ago

Wellman road isn't safe for the people that use it now. I can't imagine 13-14 thousand people on that road. They'll be backed up all the way into North Lawrence.

Jaylee 9 years ago

wakaeusa has its own website with info and at least slideshows with music playing from each year, maybe a couple videos or links to some. have not checked it out in a long time.

hujiko 9 years ago

Well, it was good while it lasted, too bad the state has to be unfair to this festival, and be fully supportive of the next. It really goes to show you why Kansas is so hypocritical, and why it will never change.

mmiller 9 years ago

I live about 5 miles from Abate, which is a Labor Day gathering of bikers from throughtout Kansas. It's nothing but sex, drugs and music but on a much, much smaller scale. So, these types of events do exist in JF County!!!

altarego 9 years ago

This is a good time to put in the Jeffco Hooters.Hippies love wangs and beer!

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

My name is actually from a Edgar Rice Burrous book (I think that's how you spell it) and it's a science fiction book. So actually my dad was kinda a sci-fi, hippie, rocker. Yeah I know, confusing. I'm all down for music and beer so I guess I'll embrace it. Besides I'm sure half my relatives will be there anyway so might as well treat it as a family reunion. So does this mean I can stop shaving my legs???? Maybe I won't go that far......yet.

Jeremy Lichtenauer 9 years ago

Vendors have to report sales to pay taxes. What vendor reports all sales???I never saw sales rang up or received a receipt at Waka fest the two times I went.It's like when you eat at most Chinese restaurants. When you pay with a credit card they ring the sale up. When you pay with cash, the drawer is already open and no transaction is recorded... Thus, no sales tax revenue generated or reported.

farmgal 9 years ago

"Applying a dust palliative to the gravel roads surrounding the site"Great! I would not be too happy if this festival caused the gravel roadin front of my place to be treated with these chemicals. That s*@!ruins the road and rusts out the metal on your car. After the countyor township treats a road with it, here come the pot holes and washboarding, guaranteed. Bad deal all the way around.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

Well I definitely think that most concert goers will go to Lawrence for their needs and not Oskaloosa or McLouth just because it actually will be closer to Lawrence. Circle S doesn't seem like it'll be big enough to support all the people that will be coming so I wonder how neighboring farmers to Circle S will feel about it. And yes I am so sorry for calling people "hippies". I'm an ignorant small town girl and I guess that's the only way I could describe them. Sorry. I just know that Wellman Rd. is one of only 2 roads to really get in and out of McLouth and I'm not looking forward to having to deal with that traffic for multiple days everytime I have to go somewhere. Plus Wellman is only two-lanes and has a lot of turns. I really think it's possible there'd be quiet a few accidents on that road. But I'll be a trooper, suck it up, and if it happens, I'll put on a smile and wave while I drive by and remind myself it's only for a few days. And maybe the age of 4 is the prefect age to start teaching my daughter about these "Wookies".

firemedic301 9 years ago

Edmonds is an F'ing joke! Since he ran his business into the ground and had it taken away from him, he is trying to find any sort of increased revenue through the door to repay the hundreds of thousands of dollars of prepurchased fuel that he screwed local businesses and farmers out of. He was against bringing it to the county last year, but is in favor of it this year after slashing thousands of dollars out of the county road and bridge budget for next year. "What little I've talked to the promoters, I think they are more than cooperative," said Jefferson County Commissioner Don Edmonds. "I think they will do everything they can within reason to make it fit out there." Don I know you are a complete and total moron, but how about you talk to the department heads and local emergency response agencies this will affect, and your constituents and see what they think since you have talked to them even less than the promoters, if you can pull your nose out of their arses long enough.

acg 9 years ago

Well it's a shame that a festival like this will inconvenience you, deja, because we surely wouldn't want anyone to be inconvenienced would we? I live in Lake Dabinawa and Wellman is like the only road to get there and sure the traffic is going to be annoying but the benefits outweigh the possible problems. As for the cops not being tough enough, I beg to differ. I've lived in Douglas Co. for 10 years and Jeff Co. for 10 years and I can tell you from first hand knowledge that Jeff Co. cops have way less sense of humor than Do. Co. cops about everything and anything you can imagine. As for teaching your daughter about the "wookies" I'm surely hoping your comment was in jest. Isn't that like preprejudicing your child against a whole group of people just because they choose to live a different lifestyle than you or because they have a differing taste in music and clothes? I understand if you don't want your daughter to use drugs and I'm not at all naive enough to think that there isn't plenty of weed smoking and shroom tripping at Waka, but I also know a lot of people who attend this festival that aren't even in to the drug scene. I can't imagine, as a mother of 2 kids, pointing out a group of people to my children and saying "those people are wookies, they are different, be wary of them". Didn't our society try that already with indians, blacks, chinese, mexicans and now brown folks?

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

hammy, that's how she spells it on her myspace but yeh, I guess that is completely wrong. So yeah, my hippie chic sisterAnd acg, no problem you're not the first to take me seriously and unfortunately not the last. I need to remind myself that just because I don't take something seriously doesn't mean others wont. I'm just bad about really having an opinion on anything because it's so easy for me to change my opinion or realize that in the big scheme of things, it really won't effect me too much. And congrats on the baby, I'll let you know if I see any Burts Bees Samples or something!

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

Well I am sorry if I offended anyone, I really just get on here during nap time as a way to kill boredom. Guess it's back to for me.

Quigly 9 years ago

Screw Douglas county. Everyone knows that dirty hippie or not, this town makes a crap load of money off of it. This county is starting to be as close minded as Shawnee. Next thing you know we will have a country stampede out here. Who needs hippies when you have plenty of redneck drunks that are snorting meth and raping girls. Nice. Yay Douglas County.

Danimal 9 years ago

This is dumb all the way around. There's no way that Lawrence doesn't make cash on this. If anything we should be trying to grow the festival and improve the facilities up to the 20K capacity requested instead of capping it. Aside from that, this would be a disaster for rural Jeff Co. One ambulance crew on stand by for 20K people is a disaster in the making.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

acg, I actually did go to Wakarusa Fest the first year it was around. And because I'm not into that scene, I was less then impressed. I have complete respect for my sister who does also refer to herself as my "hippie shiek" sister. I do think that the festival has cleaned up a little because Lawrence did get tougher on festival goers BUT since it'll be in Jefferson County and not have the same police working with the festival I personally believe it'll make it so much easier to bring in drugs.

hammysammy 9 years ago

Dejacrew423 (Anonymous) says: "acg, I actually did go to Wakarusa Fest the first year it was around. And because I'm not into that scene, I was less then impressed. I have complete respect for my sister who does also refer to herself as my "hippie shiek" sister. I do think that the festival has cleaned up a little because Lawrence did get tougher on festival goers BUT since it'll be in Jefferson County and not have the same police working with the festival I personally believe it'll make it so much easier to bring in drugs."I'm sorry, this made me momentarily confused and entertained. Did you mean "hippie chic"? I am picturing a hippie shiekh walking around.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years ago

The only lost revenue here is the $25k in unpaid bills from this year's event. I'm glad it is moving out of Lawrence. Hippies don't have money anyway.

acg 9 years ago

Actually deja, I apologize for jumping on you so harshly. I'm 8 1/2 mnths pregnant and pissy, so its not your fault. I reread your posts and saw your tone was pretty light, so again, sorry for being such a b to you because you didn't deserve it. Unless you're a republican. ; )

Potawatomi 9 years ago

If Jesus was alive today and at the Wakarusa Festival.. The cops would probably throw him to the ground and taze him like they do to the rest of the hippies.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

classclown, we have Lake Dabinawa. It could be the 3 day no showwa' at Lake Dabinawa Fest. Okay I know, kinda a stretch, besides, how do you properly spell showwa? showa? Shawa? Nevermind. Yeah TOB, I'm really glad we made up also. I don't want people to not like me because I'm rarely serious on here. And because I was raised by hippies myself so my hatred to the festival is only pent up rage from years of being raised by calm and mellow peace loving people. My name is Deja doesn't that explain it all?

Jaylee 9 years ago

dweezil222 (Anonymous) says: "Even granting that the cleanup costs after the festival are probably substantial, I have a hard time believing that it wasn't a money-maker for the county. "most of the cleaning up was done by poorly paid festie workers and volunteers. so dont fret the cleanup costs. if they spent the amount you may be thinking, people wouldnt have been bitching and complaining and piles of garbage bags waiting in line to be removed from the festival site for less than a week. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Jeremy (Anonymous) says: "Vendors have to report sales to pay taxes. What vendor reports all sales???I never saw sales rang up or received a receipt at Waka fest the two times I went."there was a hyvee tent with registers if you needed a tangible reciept of purchase, but otherwise, i can only say to you that many of the vendors (aside from dudes with a gas griddle selling garlic grilled cheese at their campsite) do keep track of their money and report it to the manager of their business when they count up at the end of the day/their shift. just because you didnt see them record every event doesnt mean they didnt have a beginning inventory and amount in their drawer/pocket/safe whatever they have on hand. plus im fairly certain all vendors had to register and pay a fee-- some of which is taxed-- to be there at all. either way there are many possibilities for strategy involved in big event vending. some we may not know or witness

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

So firemedic let me ask you, do you think Jefferson county has enough emergency staff for this type of function?

classclown 9 years ago

They should have to change their name if they move. What do they have over there? Mud Creek?

redfred 9 years ago

JF CO is going to control 5 to 10,000 drunk and high folks with 2 officers and some private rent a cops. Good luck!

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

OMG, all I can say acg is calm down. I was joking. I really hope you learn to take a joke. I really don't give two craps about this festival one way or another. I know I can't control the outcome so as I said, I'll suck it up and wave. And I'm probably the most open-minded person around so of course I'm not going to point out people and tell my kids they're different. It's people like you who really make me not want to post comments half the time because I know you won't get a simple joke. Lighten up. You seem like someone who just wants to preach their beliefs and rip someones butt to make yourself feel better. Some of us get on here and comment just to be light-hearted. Get off your stick and get over it.

seriouscat 9 years ago

I live in JeffCo and welcome the event. Hope they have some good bands and sunshine.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

TOB, I'm there......but I can't promise I won't roast a couple hotdogs on your Coleman Grill. And yeah I'm not a fan of the stubble either so I think I won't throw out the Venus shaver just yet. Although I have two aunts that are totally into the natural thing so I was winged on woman with leg hair early in life. And then again I have an uncle who shaves his legs and arms.....bizarre. Just curious, is Wakarusa Fest a replacement for the Jayhawk Music Fest? I went to that a way long time ago when Frogpond, Matchbox 20, and Cake were there.

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