SnowGlobe to restore community playfields from festival damage |

SnowGlobe to restore community playfields from festival damage

Claire Cudahy
Portions of South Lake Tahoe's Community Playfields were trampled from the SnowGlobe Music Festival.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

A snow-less, warm weekend at SnowGlobe Music Festival left the city of South Lake Tahoe’s community playfields torn up and muddy — but event organizers say the fields will be restored.

The seventh annual music festival was held at the city-owned community playfields, which underwent construction and re-sodding in fall 2017. The three-day event moved from the artificial turf fields at Lake Tahoe Community College to the adjacent playfields last year when they were just dirt.

But with no snow to act as a buffer for the new grass, many areas of the field sustained damage from the 20,000 daily attendees.

“Leading up to and during the event, we work directly with the city staff alongside turf experts to evaluate and determine the best process to protect the field,” said SnowGlobe founder Chad Donnelly in a Jan. 3 press release. “We have our plan in place to restore any portion of the field that is damaged and are committed to working with the city staff to get the restoration completed as soon as possible.”

SnowGlobe is contractually obligated to fix damages to the field and made a $250,000 deposit to the city to cover all repairs. This year the festival also donated $50,000 to the Community Play Consortium, a joint effort between LTCC and the city to improve, maintain and administer recreational facilities for the community.

Last August SnowGlobe organizers came before City Council requesting a 10-year venue agreement for the playfields that would eliminate the financial contribution by the city and require the producers to contribute approximately $300,000 to the city over the course of the deal.

In 2016, City Council agreed to increase its financial contribution to $35,000 with an annual increase of $5,000 up to $50,000. The city also covers trash and transportation and uses a variety of staff leading up to and during the event. The current contract expires after next year’s festival.

Organizers said a long-term agreement would allow them to invest in site-specific equipment to mitigate sound and damage to the playfields.

Ultimately City Council directed City Manager Nancy Kerry to draw up a five-year contract with a possible extension of another five years. The agreement would include a yearly review of performance criteria.

The new contract has not yet come before council for approval.

South Lake Tahoe Mayor Wendy David said that overall she has heard positive remarks about this year’s festival.

“I’ve heard mostly positive reports that it was much better managed and that closing Al Tahoe Boulevard made it much safer for people as they came and went. I do think the two big concerns going forward are noise and the fields,” said David. “I do think at certain times the noise was annoying and a part of that was a lack of snow and part of it may be looking at certain bands and the level of bass to their sound.”

“The other issue is indeed the damage to the fields and how they will recover,” continued David. “[The SnowGlobe organizers] did rent some field covers, but it was only for part of the field and it was for the part of the field they had some of their heavy equipment on. I walked it one day and to me the portions of the field that it was on were not the portions that were directly in front of stages where people would be dancing.”

City officials said they have no intention of replacing the turf every year, and that they will keep a close eye on how the turf recovers and determine if additional protection is required.

Though last year’s festival had a $14-million economic impact on South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, according to a study commissioned by SnowGlobe, many residents continue to vocalize their opposition to the festival. Noise, trash, crowds and drug use are the most common complaints.

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