Seven Peaks music and camping festival’s announcement that the event is canceled. (Screenshot) | By Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun | Live Nation on Friday canceled its Seven Peaks music and camping festival in Buena Vista and announced it was seeking a new location after the county declined to raise its coronavirus capacity limits for events.
The world’s top concert promoter was seeking a permit to host as many as 20,000 spectators at the festival on 277 acres of private land in a residential zoned area just outside Buena Vista. Live Nation began selling tickets for the Labor Day weekend festival last month, before the permit was approved.
“What the hell, Jim,” Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt said to Live Nation executive Jim Reid at a June 22 commission meeting where Reid admitted his team had already sold 6,000 tickets. “You know we have a 5,000 cap. You come in here and you already sold more tickets than our rules allow now?”
The county’s commissioners — who also serve as the county’s board of health — this week declined to raise that 5,000-person cap, effectively killing the festival.
“I personally feel our society opened up too drastically,” Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom told commissioners at the county board of health meeting earlier this week.
Carlstrom said she could not recommend raising capacity limits because fewer than 70% of county residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The most recent state data shows that 62.8% of eligible Chaffee County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. As of Friday, just 13 of Colorado’s 64 counties had vaccination rates at 70% or higher.
Two of the three commissioners refused to raise event limits, declining to second a motion by Commissioner Rusty Granzella to raise capacity for events to about 10,500.
Commissioner Keith Baker on Friday said he was surprised to see Live Nation announce they were looking for a new location for 2022. The county had approved a Seven Peaks permit for the location in 2018, 2019 and 2020, although the 2020 event was canceled during the pandemic shutdown.
Baker lives next to the Meadows property, which is owned by Buena Vista’s Jed Selby. He said neighbors around the open hayfields were troubled by the traffic and noise from the concert. Many more supporters — including a petition with 270 signatures — praised the festivals in the Meadows for establishing Buena Vista as a vibrant musical hub, supporting local businesses and helping the owner, Selby, preserve the agricultural legacy of the property without developing a community of homes.
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