SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — As the throngs of festival goers leave town and South Lake Tahoe slips into post-holiday quiet, the buzz about the SnowGlobe Music Festival continues.“What kind of special events are best for our area?” asked city spokeswoman Nancy Kerry. “SnowGlobe has presented a really great opportunity to have that conversation.”With both benefits and drawbacks to SnowGlobe's size, location and sound, the city is using the event to spark a discussion on what kind of events are best for the area. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, several residents criticized the music festival, focusing on the blasts of bass that could be heard throughout town. Others agreed the volume was a bit much, but said the festival is the type of event needed to stimulate the South Shore's sagging economy.Nearly every City Council member said they understood the community's concern with the noise, but said they support bringing events such as SnowGlobe to the area because of the tourist dollars that are left in their wake.Councilman Tom Davis said the South Shore is “dying a slow economic death,” and something needs to be done.“I'm willing to stick my neck out and be criticized,” Davis said. “I'm not willing to sit back and do nothing.”Festival organizers said they had a positive experience in South Lake Tahoe and would consider bringing the event to the town for another year, given they are accepted by the city.“Being in a new town, it's incredibly difficult to manage the expectations of the fans and the residents,” said SnowGlobe spokesman Chip Herter. “There's no doubt in my mind that we would come back if the town would have us.”Organizers did acknowledge the problems the event created, particularly the noise. And they're prepared to work to fix them before the next festival gets underway.“We heard every cry from the community on the sound issue,” Herter said. “It's just some of the low-hanging fruit we can improve upon.”The city received about 200 noise complaints from both people who did not like the event and those who understood the economic benefits, but couldn't handle the noise. The complaints represent 2.5 percent of households in South Lake Tahoe, said City Manager Tony O'Rourke.Police made 22 arrests at the festival, O'Rourke said. Some were drug-related. None were violent, he added.O'Rourke estimated 30,000 people attended the three day event and said the festival was a “tremendous boom” for the local economy.Some businesses around town reported record sales and are crediting SnowGlobe with the increase in customers.“I've worked for Hot Gossip for 13 years and I've never seen the sales I did this weekend,” said Liz Hallen, the owner of the caf.The playfield where the music festival was held sustained minimal damage, said South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department director Stan Sherer.“It came through with flying colors,” Sherer said. “The producers were very sensitive to our concerns. They took care of (the field) like it was their own.”O'Rourke said the concerns stemming from SnowGlobe can be addressed and are no different from what he would expect from any other large event.“As long as there is a benefit to the greater community, we need to do more of them, not less of them,” O'Rourke said.“Let's not ruin it by condemning them, but let's work on some of the issues.”
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