City approves two-year contract extension for SnowGlobe, amidst venue and financial concerns |

City approves two-year contract extension for SnowGlobe, amidst venue and financial concerns

Autumn Whitney
SnowGlobe, South Shore's three-day electronic dance music festival that leads up to New Year's, extended its contract with the City of South Lake Tahoe for two more years, through 2018.
Tribune File Photo |

SnowGlobe Music Festival has attracted thousands of people to Tahoe’s South Shore for the past five years, and it will continue to do so for at least three more. The electric dance music festival received a two-year extension to its contract with the City of South Lake Tahoe. The contract extension is contingent on Lake Tahoe Community College’s approval. The new agreement expires Dec. 31, 2018.

Upon entering Tuesday’s (July 19) South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting, SnowGlobe producer Chad Donnelly’s goal was to extend the contract by 10 years. He walked away with a fifth of what he was after, however.

“I don’t think this council is in a position right now to do the 10-year [plan], but definitely I think council will look at the three-year [plan],” city councilman Tom Davis said Tuesday.

Council members also expressed concern over city costs associated with the event, as Donnelly requested funding increases, including transportation and trash.

Currently, the City of South Lake Tahoe directly contributes $25,000 to SnowGlobe each year, plus city staff hours associated with necessary services, and Lake Tahoe Visitors Association contributes $50,000. Donnelly asked the city on Tuesday to increase its contribution to SnowGlobe by $5,000 annually.

Worry over potential damage to new playing fields near the college, the site of the event, was discussed as well.


SnowGlobe’s contract extension was lowered to two years and passed Tuesday, allowing for city council to evaluate festival outcomes before OK-ing a longer commitment.

To address cost concerns, a motion was passed that put a $50,000 cap on the city’s annual contributions to SnowGlobe. The cap was favored over splitting trash and transportation costs with the event organizer should SnowGlobe attendance grow. Until the new contract expires in 2018, the city will increase its direct financial contribution by $5,000 each year. The money left over will go toward trash removal and transportation, which currently costs approximately $13,000.

As part of the event’s contract with the city, SnowGlobe organizers are responsible for field repairs, like sod replacement, should any be necessary.

“I don’t have a concern necessarily about the event, but I do have venue concerns. We are building our two community fields. For instance, next summer they will have brand new grass that potentially then could be completely ruined and demolished six months later by a big event,” mayor Wendy David said at the meeting.


Each year approximately 15,000 people attend SnowGlobe, which takes place during the three days leading up to New Year’s. The event helps South Lake Tahoe’s economy in low and high snow years alike, and brings between $6-$10 million in spending, according to the city.

“This is financial insurance against drought,” Davis said.

Donnelly also mentioned Tuesday that he’s likely to host three other annual events on Tahoe’s South Shore, though they do not necessarily have to involve music — one in spring and two in summer.

“From my understanding, that site is permitted to do four special events per year, and what we would love to do is build out programming that speaks to different members of the community,” he explained.

As Donnelly had no formal proposal, he conveyed interest in approaching the council later this year to further discuss the idea.

“The last thing I want to do is to come in here and present something that isn’t aligned with the vision for the area,” he added.

For more information on SnowGlobe, visit

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