SnowGlobe hopes to strike multi-year deal to stay in South Lake Tahoe
Organizers of the annual SnowGlobe music festival hope to strike a new agreement with the city that will keep the event in South Lake Tahoe for years to come.
Following a recap by organizers and city officials and largely positive remarks by City Council Tuesday, City Manager Frank Rush said he would begin the process of trying to reach a new agreement.
In doing so, Rush and others involved in the negotiations will seek to balance the persisting negative impacts of the festival, particularly sound in surrounding neighborhoods, with existing economic benefits and increased exposure stemming from MTV’s purchase of the festival in 2018 — the last year in the agreement between SnowGlobe and the city of South Lake Tahoe.
“We’re going to do everything we can to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” SnowGlobe founder Chad Donnelly told the Tribune.
That agreement, he added, would have to extend multiple years. While a specific number will be determined in negotiations, SnowGlobe will not agree to a year-to-year deal.
“I think that we really believe that we have gone out of our way to be good partners and to do things that were not required by the contract … it’s about doing everything you can to be good partners,” Donnelly said.
Some community members on Tuesday maintained their pleas for a new location farther from residential neighborhoods. The festival currently takes place at the playfields at Lake Tahoe Community College.
“Move the event — that’s all we’re asking,” said Scott Ramirez, a South Lake Tahoe resident and member of the No Globe Alliance, a group created in opposition to SnowGlobe in its current form.
By many accounts, even among some of the festival’s biggest critics, this most recent installment of SnowGlobe was the best in the event’s eight-year history in South Lake Tahoe.
Officials point to sharp decreases in arrests and medical incidents during the 2018 festival, as well as reductions in nuisances such as trash. LTCC reported that the area was cleaner after day one of the festival than it was prior to the start of the event, according to the city.
Noticeable improvements also were made in sound mitigation. SnowGlobe hired a professional sound technician to assist with mitigation throughout the festival.
The city also stepped up its efforts with continued sound monitoring throughout the festival. Rush personally drove residential streets and met with residents impacted by the sound at their homes, according to the city.
“This was the most successful event we produced to date,” Donnelly said.
“We agree, this has been the best year for SnowGlobe,” Ramirez said, adding that the improvements do not discount the impacts felt by community members.
Others struck a similar tone, tempering their calls to either drop or relocate the festival with appreciation for the efforts by organizers and the city.
That approach received praise from members of council, including Councilor Jason Collin, who credited the No Globe members for keeping the discourse civil despite their objections to the event.
Some of those in attendance, including representatives from the lodging and tourism industries, spoke in favor of continuing SnowGlobe.
They too applauded organizers and the city for their efforts this year and the No Globe Alliance for their civility.
Those speaking in favor of the event pointed to the positive economic impacts from the festival, as well as the need to have a major draw during low snow years. A 2012 report commissioned by the festival estimated that attendees spent $5.8 million.
As for the event’s future in South Lake Tahoe, council members were not quite unanimous in their opinions.
Councilor Cody Bass, while conceding some issues do need to be addressed, said he has attended the event every year and has seen its evolution during that time. With the added exposure expected from MTV’s involvement — SnowGlobe 2019 could be broadcast in 180 countries — Bass expressed support for continuing the festival.
Collin also expressed support, stating it’s impossible to quantify the experience factor. SnowGlobe could be many people’s first taste of Tahoe, an experience that could bring them back years later as visitors or potential residents.
Councilor Tamara Wallace, while admitting that there are benefits from the festival, echoed some of the concerns voiced by those opposed to the festival, specifically the location.
“If we can keep SnowGlobe and alleviate the concerns in that neighborhood, I think that’s a win win,” she said.
Wallace also said she was concerned with the use of fireworks and called for the city to end its “subsidy” of the event.
Between staff time, resources and financial contributions, the city contributed a total of $120,902 in 2017. Although an exact number is still uncertain for 2018, Recreation Superintendent Lauren Thomaselli told council she expects it will be more than 2017.
Rush said his goal will be to try and reach an agreement with SnowGlobe that is not only agreeable for council but agreeable for the community.
Although there are opportunities to go elsewhere, Donnelly said they really want to keep SnowGlobe in South Lake Tahoe.
“We love it here. … This all started with a real appreciation for this environment and a desire to be here.
“We’ve certainly battled through some adversity but this has been home to this event for the past eight years and we’re going to do everything we can to work towards a fair negotiation with the city.”
SnowGlobe is seeking a decision on whether the event can continue in South Lake Tahoe within one to two months.