Below is the feedback I received from Jenn Bensch at Happy Ending Productions based on the concerns, questions, and suggestions that were captured at the January Meeting.
February 7, 2012
On behalf of SweetWater 420 Festival, we would like to take some time and inform you all on where we currently stand with progress towards the festival and our commitment in working collectively with the CPNO. Below you will also find a list of answers in response to questions from the January meeting addressed to us.
On Friday, January 25, we met with Councilman Wann at City Hall to discuss the need of additional support in muscling MARTA to work with us for the event. We are hopeful that we can leverage relationships at a higher level with these meetings to get MARTA to add cars and extend timeframes that will support our event, so that we can better promote this as a green option for festival guests and utilize incentive programs.
Councilman Wann currently has our “wish list” from MARTA, developed by us, with the support of a handful of fellow CPNO members in concert, all present at the meeting. We are pushing to have Councilmember Wann engage State Senator, Jason Carter, and Georgia Representative, Stacey Abrams, in a call to action on MARTA.
Also, discussed during the meeting was the need to bring Park Atlanta to the table to assist us in ticketing, towing and enforcement of traffic regulations. Coucilman Wann is working to arrange a meeting for us to get together collectively and set this up. We will most certainly keep you all abreast of the final progress we’ve made once we meet with the group.
We received some questions from the January CPNO meeting as provided by Steve Cardwell. Please see our responses below:
Are the sidewalks by the pool going to be open?
The sidewalks will be open in the morning for school but they are not general admission entrances during the event. This is an emergency exit and festival staff entrance/exit only. Those walking their children to school on Friday AM and PM will be allowed entry.
Will there be alcohol on Candler Park Drive?
Why is it a Class B Festival when the Parks Department has recommended Class C Festivals for Candler Park?
We are grandfathered in, as we were here before the recommendations were made by the Parks Department. 420 Festival was a Class B last year as well.
Some folks were unclear on the requirement regarding notification of events in the permit. How has this been accomplished for Candler Park?
We sent out notice in the messenger. In addition to that, we have contacted many of those affected by phone and have done a lot of due diligence in attending these meetings and responding to incoming emails as well. We are only required to give notice in a broad format, but work to ensure we communicate beyond that.
Permit is vague regarding Candler Park Drive. The additional notes provided indicate it’s going to be 1-Way. Would you be willing to amend the permit so that it matches your additional notes?
We cannot amend the permit once it is submitted. If there is any amending, it will be done by the city.
Could you elaborate on the Ferris Wheel? Size, location, etc.
There will not be a Ferris wheel.
In your notes, you mention that “we” will be enforcing towing and ticketing. Some folks wanted to know who “we” was meant to indicate.
In a current meeting with Coucilman Alex Wann we were informed that as a festival, we can’t legally tow anyone who is not blocking a driveway or emergency traffic. We are trying to get a meeting Park ATL to get them out to rectify this situation. We will keep you posted of any further information on this topic. We will encourage our hired police officers to heavily ticket throughout the event weekend additionally.
Can you clarify which roads will be closed? It looks like it’s just Candler Park Drive, but there was some confusion.
Candler Park Drive is closed. In order to control this we will need to barricade and block the other streets as well including:
- Candler Park Drive – will remain a one-way from North to McLendon
- Benning, Miller and North closed (at Oakdale)
- Callan Circle at each end will be closed
Residents wishing to access these streets must have valid ID for entrance into each area.
Some opposition to checking Drivers Licenses as folks want to have their friends park in their driveways
Answer: We can’t have it both ways, in order to create the best access for residents we have to enlist certain measures. It seems hard to make everyone happy. Collectively, the festival feels that this is the best way to manage the road closure.
Some folks from Terrace are opposed to turning the stage
Answer: We did this to minimize the noise impact for the most residents possible. The stage has been turned in the permit and we can't do anything to move it now.
8 days of setup, festival, and teardown seems excessive
Answer: It take a lot to put on a festival of this size and magnitude. We are sorry for the impact it has on your community.
Noise pollution. Simply follow the decibel level regulations enjoyed by folks at Chastain Park. These levels should be monitored by an independent source paid for by the event organizer.
Answer: We will be closely monitoring the decibel level.
Public Transportation. Offer wrist band discounts to those who ride MARTA. Event organizers can verify MARTA ridership by simply having an intern at the Candler Park station with a hand stamping device. Make note of this in the advertising campaign.
Answer: We need MARTA to up their train service to be able to make this a potential solution. We are working with Alex Wan and other city and state officials on the issue, if and when we get them on board we will create a press release around an incentive program. We sincerely hope to have the opportunity to do this.
Public Off-Street Parking. Inman Park Neighborhood Association pays MARTA for use of their parking lots at both the Inman Park/Reynoldstown and Edgewood/Candler Park rail stations during their large neighborhood festival every April. Simply lease the large surface lots on both sides of the tracks at the Edgewood/Candler Park MARTA for visitor parking.
Answer: I have spoken with MARTA and they said we can rent space but that these lots are at 70% capacity already. They are looking into the lot on the other side of DeKalb. This would maybe allow us 200 spaces.
Parking Violations. Both blocked driveways and roadways have plagued neighbors during the festival. Organizers should simply have a minimum of three tow trucks staged nearby so that folks can call one number and have the offenders hauled away immediately.
Answer: It is simply not legal for us to do this unless there are permanent tow away signs posted by the city or they are blocking driveways. All towing has to be done by the city.
Residential Parking. Since the event organizers are able to assign parking for the tour buses, they should simply assign parking for residents who don’t enjoy off-street parking.
Answer: We are accommodating this for residents on Candler Park Drive.
Hours. The park has posted hours. Organizers should simply stop the event in time to clear the park by closing time.
Answer: We stay within the permitted times and we stop before this time each night.
Buses. Diesel buses idling on public streets for 12 or more hours for the convenience of the event organizers and bands who don’t have their own tour buses doesn’t seem very green. The big acts drive in, do their show, then leave. No idling. If the event organizers can’t make do with the pool house, then simply plug the buses into an electrical source such as the First E and pay the difference in First E’s power bill.
Answer: We try our best to not have them parked on the street and for the past several years they have been parked at the school.
Trash. Event organizers estimate 50,000 people attend this festival. If these folks buy only 2 beers apiece, that’s 100,000 cups that end up on our streets and in landfills. Instead of disposable, one-use cups, simply use recyclable special event cups that can be refilled. This allows event organizers to further their advertising efforts when cups are later reused by park patrons, and it reduces the amount of garbage generated by tons, literally.
Answer: We use corn cups and they are compostable so they biodegrade quickly. We have looked into the reusable cup and for the size of our event the operational logistics don't make sense.
Access. Fencing off or closing public sidewalks and playgrounds is inappropriate. Simply don’t do it.
Answer: We are permitted by the city to be able to do it for the security of patrons, vendors, and our event staff.
Drunk driving. Have a stable of cabs nearby so that those who have had too much to drink can simply and safely get a ride home.
Answer: We employee Safety Ride and they wait at the exits of the event to offer people rides home for free. They drive the patrons' cars so that the car is no longer in your neighborhood thereby reducing impact. We send out notices to all the cab companies that work in the city of Atlanta to notify them of the large crowds that weekend, and again we continue to try to work with Marta to have them increase their train service so more folks can get home safely and securely.
Additionally, please see a few reminders from last month’s updates:
Traffic and Parking:
- Police will be strictly ticketing all illegally parked cars.
- We’ve requested increased police presence on Oakdale as a result of the closings. This should significantly help to address issues of traffic and parking in this area.
- We will have extra motorcycle police on hand for the weekend to help quickly mitigate any issues that arrive.
- Should you see overcrowding on your street, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send out APD as soon as possible to monitor and manage the situation accordingly. We ask that residents please include as much detail as possible in their emails.
We have created parking spaces on Candler Park Drive to assign to the church, golf course, and those without driveways. We will be in touch with passes and assignment of these spaces closer to the festival. Anyone without a driveway on Candler Park Drive, please contact Crystal Bryan at email@example.com.
- Please see our updated sign placement list attached.
As we continue to make progress with councilmembers, MARTA and others, we will keep you all posted. We appreciate your understanding of these processes and patience during this time. We look forward to seeing you all at the February meeting.
Happy Endings Production