Ashland group out $200,000 in music, art festival

A series of snafus around a five-day music and art festival near Redding, Calif., apparently torpedoed its ticket sales, left vendors unpaid and sent organizer Mystic Garden Party of Ashland scrambling to cover about $200,000 in debts.

The fourth annual Mystic Garden Party, held July 21-26 in Manton and featuring music acts including Michael Franti and Spearhead, was originally slated to be on private land near Flournoy.

Mystic Garden Party Chief Financial Officer Jason Gallagher said Tehama County planning officials e-mailed the go-ahead months before the event but denied the permit a week before, then told media it was canceled, resulting in a big drop in ticket sales and inability to pay vendors.

Gallagher said Mystic Garden Party expected more than 3,000 people but only 1,000 came to a hastily arranged new site at Water Wheel Park in Manton. Gallagher said he plans to sue Tehama County for losses and damages.

"They gave permission, then they got nervous and canceled it, after we'd invested a tremendous amount," Gallagher said.

"We are in deep."

Tehama County planner Bob Halpin said he denied the permit because a planned all-night party was not allowed by ordinances and because a festival was not a permitted use on land zoned for exclusive agricultural use.

"If they want to sue, we're ready for them," said Halpin. "We did everything in a timely manner and we told them months before that they needed a special permit. They applied two weeks before the event and we denied it the Monday before. He left himself with short notice and not much room to wiggle. He told us it would be a bunch of people and some bands, not 2,500 people. He misrepresented himself."

Halpin said he told the media the permit was not granted but he denied the charge that he announced the festival was canceled.

Mystic Garden Party owner Phil Lindsey said he and Gallagher are working to get loans for payment to all vendors as soon as possible.

— John Darling

Share This Story