By Kathryn Reed
“It’s up to the council and community, but my recommendation will be to encourage this to become an annual event.”
That is what South Lake Tahoe City Manager Nancy Kerry told Lake Tahoe News less than 24 hours after the three-day music festival SnowGlobe came to a close.
“I think this event is a great example of what a group of community and city leaders can do when they put their efforts toward a common goal. Our common goal was not to bring the event back, but instead was to determine whether or not we could find acceptable solutions to the organizers, the community, those most upset or impacted by the event,” Kerry said. “That goal remained the focus this past year. A huge thanks goes to the community members who decided to more than say they didn’t like something, those who got involved said they would invest of their own time to work with the city and organizers to determine if an acceptable solution could be found. They got involved and focused not on what they didn’t agree with or didn’t like but instead invested their energies in helping to find solutions.”
A year ago the complaints were practically nonstop during the event because the bass from the techno acts had residents unable to enjoy their own homes – walls shook, turning up the TV didn’t solve the problem and angst stayed with those most affected for the last year.
While the music could be heard on occasion outside the event boundaries during the Dec. 29-31 event, it was not constant.
The city set up a phone line just for SnowGlobe related issues. It barely rang.
“I have had a lot of good feedback, no complaints and just a few minor issues have arisen. In the scheme of things it has been pretty successful,” LTCC President Kindred Murillo told Lake Tahoe News.
Like last year, the event was on the community ball fields next to Lake Tahoe Community College.
This year the college strived to capitalize on the thousands of music fans on campus – hoping to show them that while South Lake Tahoe can be fun, it also can be a place to get a higher education.
The college set up a Facebook page specifically for SnowGlobe, handed out postcards with info, and had booths inside and outside the venue.
Murillo spent her New Year’s Eve with the more than 12,000 attendees.
Chad Donnelly, who put on SnowGlobe, did not return a call so the exact number of tickets sold is not known.
The city says about 9,000 attended Saturday night, Sunday was a sell-out crowd of 13,000 and as of 8pm New Year’s Eve, 12,000 had gone through the gates.
When people entered they were frisked and offered the chance to dump any contraband in the amnesty bins. Police Chief Brian Uhler said less was collected this year compared to last year, but as of Tuesday night officers had not gone through it.
There was one arrest Saturday and one Monday – one for alleged theft, the other for allegedly possessing a controlled substance. (South Tahoe police arrested three people on charges of being drunk in public at the Stateline area on New Year’s Eve; where city officials said the crowd was much smaller than years past.)
While uniformed officers were at SnowGlobe, including a K9 unit, undercover officers, event security and undercover Alcohol Beverage Control inspectors were walking the area.
SnowGlobe security kicked a few people out, but why and how many has not been released.
Transportation was the biggest complaint – especially the first day. Event organizers contracted with a private bus company to bring people to the campus and deliver them back to the casino area. BlueGo was paid by SnowGlobe to run more buses, too.
“The long-term impacts of having 15,000 or so attendees come and experience South Lake Tahoe at a festival and doing so annually will likely result in tremendous marketing of the community and encouraging many of these attendees to either move here to go to college, move here later, or return to visit here year after year,” Kerry said.
By Monday, or sooner, the goal is to have LTCC not look like such a mega-event ever took place. That’s when winter quarter starts.
The main stage started to be broken down New Year’s morning after the fireworks put an exclamation point to the end of the three-day event.
In the coming days and weeks Kerry will speak with city employees, college officials and organizers for a bit of a debriefing. Meeting with those involved took place throughout the event to make sure everyone was on the same page.
While a $50,000 deposit had been secured by the city from organizers, it’s too soon to know if it will be fully refunded.
“This time, we all kept a focus on the big idea of bringing events to the community that will generate revenue for local businesses, promote the natural environment and encourage long-term connections to South Lake Tahoe,” Kerry said.