SPRINGDALE – Springdale Town Council Members met Wednesday night to discuss the Zion Canyon Music Festival, an event held in Springdale every year featuring live music, vendors, and other family activities. The festival is in danger of being shut down due to liability concerns, among other issues raised by the Town Council. While the council decided to go forward with the event this year, they have expressed that they no longer want to sponsor the event in the years to come.
“The council has felt that it’s becoming large enough that it’s not just a little event, it’s a big event,” Springdale Mayor Stan Smith said. “Another reason is liability – the liability of the town purchasing alcohol and selling it; then what would happen if someone went and drove and injured someone else and that came back on the town? The council wasn’t excited about taking that responsibility.”
See videocast at the top of the story, click the play arrow in the center.
The festival has operated for six years with the support of the town, and part of the reason that support is needed is because of a town ordinance that doesn’t allow third parties to sell alcohol on the field where the festival takes place. Smith said the council is in support of the event, but if that ordinance doesn’t change, the event will not be able to continue. The mayor said they would look into changing that ordinance in order to have the festival continue in that location.
Alex Pelton, co-chair of the festival, expressed his disappointment in the city’s decision.
“It’s been a successful festival since it’s started, it’s grown every year. We’ve improved every year on the issues and problems, as well as the attendance,” Pelton said. “They’ve given us a year to basically wash our hands of the town; so we’ll have to decide on the committee what we’re going to do and how we’re going to address that.”
The council proposed several guidelines and expectations that they have for the festival planners to garner their support, including having them form a limited liability company or nonprofit corporation that would transfer liability from the city to the festival itself. They also want a budget, they said. The council voted to have the festival form a 501(c)(3) corporation.
If the festival planners can meet the council’s requirements, then the city would have no problem giving their support, Smith said.
Festival committee members have put together a proposal and presented it to the city in hopes of answering the council’s concerns.
“We need to do a real clean job of running the festival this year. We need to cross all of our T’s, dot all of our I’s, and try to make a profit this year,” Kellen Cox, a member of the festival committee, said. “I think that with the momentum that we have and the support that we have, we’re going to be able to do that. But we need a lot of people to step up.”
The town council is also concerned about staffing issues. Cox said that the festival only made $150 last year, not enough to justify having the town put the hours necessary into making the festival happen. In answer to that, the festival committee has garnered volunteers to put in those hours so the city doesn’t have to.
“As it stands, the festival will happen this year with the stipulations that the town added,” Cox said. “We just have to jump through their hoops.”
St. George News videographer Leanna Bergeron contributed the videocast for this report.
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