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As the clock ticks down to the Seven Peaks Music Festival coming up Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 in Buena Vista, the conversation during the Aug. 13 Board of County Commissioners revealed several open items related to the Live Nation event making county staff and Commissioners nervous. Less than three weeks before the event, the county’s event check list reveals several important planning items for which no answers yet exist.

Dierks Bentley is one of several headliners for the Seven Peaks Music Festival coming up Labor Day weekend.

Given that reality, BoCC chair Greg Felt requested a review of the checklist underlying the county’s resolution approving the festival. That revealed several incomplete items.

“Here’s our problem – they won’t communicate with us. They won’t provide the evacuation plan. We’ve sent countless emails and they won’t respond to things that are critical to us,” said Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze. “We’re two weeks out and we can’t get our operation plan done because they won’t respond … our emails are falling on deaf ears.”

Spezze indicated that just Tuesday morning the county had received the traffic plan, but had no word on the Live Nation drug policy or gun policy. He added that the county does not yet have a preliminary emergency plan – “We haven’t gotten anything yet, so we don’t have the evacuation planning done,” said Spezze.

Chaffee County EMS Director Josh Hadley indicated that an emergency operations plan can only be created after Live Nation provides the evacuation plan, which the county hasn’t received.

Spezze added that that the drug policy provided by Live Nation to the county is not clear enough. He explained that the county cannot take posession of narcotics or guns that are legal (without a criminal act, law enforcement cannot legally confiscate them); it needs a policy from Live Nation about what they are going to do with narcotics or guns if they remove them from concert-goers.

Buena Vista Administrator Phillip Puckett reviewed the town’s responsibility related to dust control, and said that Gregg Drive along Rodeo Road would be treated later this week. The town is still waiting to hear about the festival’s hydrant and potable water needs.

“This is the most important thing outstanding for the town,” said Puckett. “We require them to put a deposit down for the [water]meter and monitor during event. We did this for Vertex so we know how to do it – but don’t know who from their end is going to use it.”

Chaffee County Road & Bridge Supervisor Mark Stacy explained that he is the county point person on road conditions, but doesn’t expect much more work. “They’ve never done it in the past. I don’t expect them to do it this year. CR 337 is the only one not paved. If they don’t use 361 as an emergency, I’ve already sprayed this and if they need more they are supposed to contact me before they do it. But I’ve never been contacted.”

Chaffee County Environmental Manager Wayne Urbonas confirmed that all the food vendors have completed their applications and check out.

The liquor license applications (which last week still did not match the county’s resolution approving the event) have been amended and are now posted, with no time to spare.

Spezze and Hadley reinforced the need for a continuous access border plan; a walkway inside the property.

“I need a buffer between the north side of the hill and the venue – they agreed to it and they need to provide this,” said Spezze.

“It’s an egress issue for our staff for emergencies,” added Hadley.

Administrative Asst. Patty Baldwin said she is not pleased with the temporary power and lighting plan submitted by Live Nation. “I don’t think it meets the resolution language – it’s not a plan.”

Several county staff reiterated that a cellular ‘cow” [communications tower] is needed from Verizon. Mobile phones at large events tends to use significant band width and additional mobile access is needed so the event doesn’t use all available cell service in the county during the event. One tower has been confirmed.

While it was agreed that Live Nation is behind in addressing the items that must be handled prior to Aug. 30, the group remained positive that there is time to correct open items. “They’re behind. We set an MOU [Memo of Understanding] for their Chaffee Fire plan in May – but that does not mean that there is a plan in place – that is on them – not on us,” said Commissioner Greg Felt.

In response to the county’s meeting, officials at Live Nation provided the following statement: “All safety plans for this year’s Seven Peaks Music Festival have been submitted.  Our faith is in local law enforcement and with the huge success of 2018, we know that this year will be just as smooth and safe.”

With an eye to checking items off the check list, commissioners indicated they are counting on the Aug. 19 site walk-through with Live Nation to clear up outstanding public safety questions.

“We have a good relationship with them once they get on site – but until then we can’t get anything from them,” Spezze commented the morning of the commissioner’s meeting.