Close to 40 people showed up to rally in front of the Chaffee County courthouse prior to the commission’s meeting Tuesday.

Meet Me at the Creek was approved for the Meadows Sept. 24–25 after the Chaffee County Board of County Commissioners approved the permit July 20 after considerable time spent on public comment. Event producer Scotty Stoughton has not yet released the performer lineup.

“Getting approval doesn’t mean ‘Ah, let’s go.’ It means I can move forward with trying to lock in a budget,” Stoughton told The Times.

“I’m really appreciative of the commissioners approving it,” he said. But delays have increased costs, pressures and risks.

Stoughton said the cost to erect staging, for instance, had risen 25% since his initial budgeting last winter.“I have to sell most of the tickets to break even.”

Stoughton said that as an independent promoter, his own house will serve as collateral.

He now has just 2 months to put together and sell out the show.

“I’m really nervous,” he said.

Supporters staged a rally Tuesday morning outside the county courthouse where the meeting took place.

“We had around 40 people show up to rally,” said Robin Vega, who organized a petition in support of MMATC, which gathered 98 signatures from Chaffee County residents and business owners.

“I got back my drive because of the people that showed up last week,” said Stoughton.

Many rally attendees stayed to make public comments, the first allowed to take place in-person at a commission meeting since the beginning of pandemic lockdowns.

“Everyone wanted to participate in the public comment, but unfortunately the meeting was delayed,” Vega said.

“Recent events have taught us that it’s incredibly important that the commissioners hear all of our voices and understand that music is incredibly important for Chaffee County. Not just for the economy but also for culture and camaraderie,” said local musician Coleman Smith in a press release from rally organizers.

“This Meet Me at the Creek rally was intended to show our support not just of music but also for Scotty Stoughton and Bonfire Entertainment. We are so grateful for their partnership and investment in our community” he said.

Nathan Jones, who resides on property neighboring the Meadows, submitted detailed documents to the board outlining expected impacts on the neighborhood and recommending policies on noise and curfews.

“The BOCC were clearly intent on giving Bonfire Entertainment whatever they wanted. They had no interest in following the intent of the state noise abatement statute. They showed zero interest in mitigating the impacts of the event on neighbors,” he said in a statement to The Times.

Stoughton’s production company Bonfire Entertainment partnered with South Main Arts and Park Trust, a nonprofit corporation, and were exempted from the statute under section 11:

“(11) This article is not applicable to the use of property by this state ... or any other entity not organized for profit, including, but not limited to, nonprofit corporations, or any of their lessees, licensees, or permittees, for the purpose of promoting, producing, or holding cultural, entertainment, athletic or patriotic events, including, but not limited to, concerts, music festivals and fireworks displays.”

Vega’s press release stated SMAPT is a legitimate nonprofit corporation with ties to the community.

“The South Main Arts and Parks Trust has played an essential role in building and maintaining the Town’s Whitewater Park, and constructed the outdoor living rooms, a popular installation located on the Arkansas River in the South Main neighborhood. Established in 2012, The South Main Arts and Parks Trust is also a valued partner for the fine arts community in Buena Vista and has hosted over 150 free concerts, movie premiers and auctions to raise money for philanthropic efforts and community initiatives. One of its newest initiatives is a free Sunday concert series hosted at The Lawn in partnership with Coletrain Music Academy,” it said.

Stoughton said the focus of his event is bringing together the local community.

“I want these tickets, if we go on sale, to be able to be getting in the hands of people in the mountains and Chaffee County specifically,” he said.

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