Reggae concerts shift venue from Tahoe to regional park
Though residents of North Lake Tahoe might consider Renegade Production’s Reggae at the Lake concert a troublesome affair, officials in Truckee anticipate few problems associated with the event, which this year will be at the Truckee River Regional Park.
Park officials said unrelated past events have brought some concern from residents near the park.
“I’ve had a couple of complaints over the years about noise,” Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District General Manager Steve Randall said. “But other than that, no problems.”
At least one Truckee resident has reservations, however, about the two concerts which will take place at the park during August: Reggae at the Lake No. 1 and Reggae at the Lake No. 2.
“I was quite concerned about this after speaking to folks in Tahoe Vista,” Truckee resident Lin Crawforth said.
The Reggae at the Lake concerts, promoted by Renegade Productions, were held for four years at the Tahoe Vista Regional Park as a two-day camping/concert event.
This year, the North Tahoe Public Utility District decided that the event could not continue as in previous years.
“We put some restrictions on events in the park and one of the restrictions was no camping,” NTPUD General Manager John Hassenplug said. “Without camping, there was a question whether the event would be financially viable. The primary reasons for not having the event are economic reasons.”
Because the regional park in Tahoe Vista adjoins U.S. Forest Service land, and because camping is allowed on forest service land for up to two weeks, the NTPUD found that camping concert-goers posed a threat to public safety which could not be allowed, Hassenplug added.
“We couldn’t control people,” he said. “There was a possibility of public endangerment. One year somebody built a fire – we can’t have that. It’s just too dangerous.”
According to Hassenplug, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association suggested that the Reggae at the Lake event be held on either the third or fourth weekend in August, rather than the first or second weekend, because hotels in the area are generally less busy during the second half of the month and would therefore be able to help alleviate the camping problem.
However, dates for Reggae at the Lake are selected to fall immediately before or after larger Reggae events, such as Reggae on the River, held in Guerneville, so that some of the biggest Reggae stars, many coming from Jamaica, are available and affordable, Renegade Productions owner Robbie Polomsky said. Because timing is such an important factor in planning an event like Reggae at the Lake, the weekends suggested by the NLTRA did not work out.
Polomsky said he believes opposition to holding Reggae at the Lake in Tahoe Vista came primarily from three or four Tahoe Vista residents who were more concerned with keeping people who attend Reggae concerts out of their neighborhood than with economics or public safety.
“That was probably the main thing – had it been a blues concert, a different crowd, they maybe would have felt differently,” Polomsky said. “I recall one of them saying at one of the meetings that they didn’t want that element – a certain type of people – in their quiet community.”
This year Truckee’s regional park will provide the setting for Reggae at the Lake #1 and Reggae at the Lake #2, to be held respectively on Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug 15. Though Polomsky anticipates losing perhaps 1,000 in attendance because Reggae at the Lake is no longer a two-day camping event, and though under these conditions the event could have been held in Tahoe Vista, he opted to hold the event in Truckee because the Gebhardt amphitheater is an ideal setting.
“Truckee – it’s such a nice venue,” he said. “The grass is so nice. They’ve got the stage set up great, including electricity. Truckee is a better place to have a concert. And the people there [Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District], Steve Randall, they’re so great to work with.”
Randall said because there have been a few complaints about noise generated by music in the park and because not all people appreciate outdoor music events, the TDRPD allows only one free concert and only one concert for which there is a charge during each week of the summer.
“Concerts [for which there is a charge] have been going on there for five years or so,” Randall said. “We don’t allow two-day events. We don’t allow camping and we never will.”
For information concerning the Reggae at the Lake concerts, call the Renegade Productions hotline at (530) 583-2801 or (775) 746-8134.
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