Riot Fest, an alternative music festival, will soon announce a new venue for this year's concert after Arapahoe County on Friday issued a letter denying its return to Byers, Colorado, in September.
"We know this sucks," a post on the Riot Fest Facebook page says. "We're as disappointed as you are."
All tickets will be honored at the new location that will be announced as soon as possible, the post states. "The show will go on, and rock n roll never dies," the post concludes.
County zoning administrator Tammy King says the decision is based on traffic and public safety concerns.
The denial letter issued to organizers is posted on the Arapahoe County website.
In the letter, King writes:
“Based upon the information provided to me, it is clear that when Riot Fest was held in 2013, the traffic generated to and from the May Farms property by allowing the above-referenced vehicles to park on the property over a two to three day period caused numerous adverse impacts to members of the community.”
Riot Fest Corporation out of Chicago and the Denver-based production company Soda Jerk Presents applied for a permit to once again use a stretch of farmland near Interstate 70 for the three-day alternative rock music festival originally scheduled for September 19-21.
Tickets and camping spaces were already made available for purchase. According to the Riot Fest website, lower- to mid-priced three-day passes had already sold out.
"This is the second year in a row that Riot Fest has sold tickets prior to getting a permit," Araphoe County communication services director Andrew Rasizer tells CPR. "We notified May Farms back in November and again in June that they had not gotten approval of the permit yet and that selling tickets was at their own risk."
Festival organizers can now make an appeal to the Arapahoe County Board of Adjustment. They must notify the Zoning Administrator within 10 calendar days of today's decision to order to do so, according to Rasizer.
Following Riot Fest 2013, county commissioners received a lot of feedback through emails and letters from residents -- both in opposition and support of the festival.
Due to the large public interest, commissioners held a public hearing in Byers on July 1 to discuss the future of Riot Fest. Arapahoe County also has an application from May Farms for a second permit. This permit would allow May Farms to be a site for "agritainment," which means the venue could host larger scale entertainment events with regularity.
A public hearing for this permit has not been scheduled yet.