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Council approves process waivers for upcoming music festivals

Friday, February 28, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Austin City Council members Thursday approved a set of process waivers that will allow Fun Fun Fun, Austin Urban Music, and Austin Reggae festivals to move ahead with their respective street closures in an expedited fashion. Festival organizers implied that the success of the events were dependent on the action.


The measures each passed unanimously aside from the Fun Fun Fun festival waiver. On that request, Council Member Kathie Tovo suggested that the irregular process would set a poor precedent.


Council Member Laura Morrison was careful to note that, by her read, Council action to waive typical procedure did not set a precedent.


Tovo’s concerns echoed a call from Zilker Neighborhood Association member David King, who suggested that a truncated process removed the balance envisioned by city code framers.


“If these three resolutions are approved, affected neighborhoods, civic groups, and businesses will have no leverage to mitigate traffic, parking, and other impacts from these events,” King told Council members. “Waiving the notification and right to object processes for these events will upset the balance of power between affected neighborhoods and event producers that has worked for hundreds of events throughout the city.”


Fun Fun Fun is a music festival organized by Transmission Entertainment. Recent years have found the festival using the city’s Auditorium Shores facility.


For his part, Council Member Bill Spelman argued that the fact that festival organizers expect to return to the Auditorium Shores area for future events would secure promoter cooperation with neighborhoods. “How many years has Transmission or somebody else been doing festivals like (Fun Fun Fun)?” asked Spelman. “Do you expect to do Fun fest again? …And you realize that if – signature waivers or not – if you really p*** off the neighborhood (or) the users of the Long Center, you may not be invited back. Am I right?”


Transmission representative and former Council aide Bobby Garza replied, “absolutely.”


Transmission reps have been working with city officials to ensure that the festival can continue in the wake of major renovation of the park. Another concert promoter has funded those repairs, Austin City Limits producers C3 Presents.


Thursday, Garza promised that Fun Fun Fun promoters would include the Bouldin Neighborhood in discussions about their event as planning moves forward. Bouldin had requested a postponement of the Transmission waiver.


Thursday Council action removes an official public appeals process for each of the events’ street closures.

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