Jefferson County commissioners have rejected plans to move the annual Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival from Clinton State Park in Lawrence, Kan., to a site at the nearby Circle S Ranch.
Commissioners, who turned down a similar proposal last year, voiced concern over infrastructure issues and said nearby residents were strongly opposed to the plan.
Commissioner Don Edmonds told the Topeka Capital-Journal the gravel road that leads off the highway to the site isn’t equipped to handle thousands of cars. "It’s not designed for this," Edmonds said. "If it would rain it would be a nightmare." Promoter Brett Mosiman previously told Pollstar he planned to move the event because of "inequities in contractual terms versus other events."
Over the past four to six years, Wakarusa’s rent went up "somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 percent," according to the promoter, while a nearby country fest with a similar setup – Country Stampede – reportedly wasn’t subjected to similar fee hikes by the parks department.
During the commission meeting, the promoter also said the parks department had reduced Wakarusa’s capacity to 13,000, but increased Country Stampede’s to 40,000, the paper reported.
Mosiman told commissioners that he still plans to promote Wakarusa, but isn’t optimistic about hosting the event at the state park or finding another location in the area for the festival.
"We’ll forge ahead and look at other sites," Mosiman said according to the Capital-Journal. "It’s doubtful we’ll stick around Lawrence. We wanted to stay here, but it is looking less likely."