Chaffee County commissioners expressed their displeasure last week at a meeting to discuss proposed music event permit applications at the Meadows near Buena Vista.
Drawing commissioners’ ire was learning that Live Nation, producers of the Seven Peaks festival scheduled for Labor Day, had already exceeded the county limit for outdoor events, selling 6,000 tickets, where current county regulations set a 5,000-person crowd limit.
Commissioners told Live Nation’s Jim Reed that the production company’s sales undermined county government and trust in government in general by selling tickets beyond the number allowed, without noting that the festival is subject to a final approval, or some other caveat that approval is pending.
Commissioners’ unhappiness with Live Nation’s advance sales is understandable. The county has limits on crowd gatherings which other entities such as FIBArk were required to follow.
That said, other entities including the city and county of Denver removed crowd restrictions almost four weeks earlier, as of June 1, on professional sports arenas and other events.
This means there are no limits to crowd size at Rockies or Broncos’ games, or at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor music venue that draws up to 10,000 people to concerts.
Live Nation and Seven Peaks held its first festival at the Meadows in 2018. The 2020 event was canceled along with most other events, with severely limited crowds allowed at college and professional sports games.
But with the lifting of restrictions, commissioners are now backed into a corner with regard to Seven Peaks. Approve the festival and commissioners will be open to critics who say the county cut some sort of agreement earlier.
Or deny the permit and risk alienating fans who showed their support to the earlier festival, including some 1,300 area residents of the 6,000 who have purchased tickets to this year’s event.
Local jurisdictions do have the option of placing more restrictive regulations on events. However, given that all size restrictions due to the coronavirus have been removed at much larger outdoor venues in metro areas, the county will likely follow suit, if producers and commissioners can come to an agreement on other requirements for sound limits, among others.
Not that commissioners will be pleased to be granting the permit, if they in fact do.