KHEN Radio becomes record-breaking Seven Peaks Music Festival – by Jan Wondra

Ark Valley Voice has confirmed that KHEN Radio, 106.9 FM, also known as Tenderfoot Transmitting, the Salida-based low-volume non-profit radio station, has been approached and accepted a role as an association at non-profit associated with the Seven Peaks project. Music festival offered for the 277-acre The Meadows site on Chaffee County lands, bordering Buena Vista.

A large meadow with greater views, The Meadows is the proposed site of the Seven Peaks Music Festival. Photo by Greg Wright

“KHEN is delighted to partner with Live Nation as a non-profit partner to bring the Seven Peaks Music Festival to Chaffee County,” said KHEN Board Chair Trish Cullinan. “Thanks to their contribution to our station, this partnership will help us finance the hiring of a new general manager.

During the June 30 public hearing on the application for a 2021 Seven Peaks music festival, the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) discovered that there was a complete lack of association with a purpose entity. nonprofit that would exempt festival organizers from decibel ceilings. . Moved by Nashville music promoter Live Nation for Labor Day weekend, the request comes months later than previous requests.

The 2020 concert, which had been approved by the BoCC in March 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, has been canceled. The application submitted called for a ceiling of 20,000 people.

During the two previous Live Nation concerts held in Chaffee County (2018 and 2019), the concert request was made on behalf of a non-profit organization on the west coast. This time around, the request submitted by Live Nation’s Seven Peaks site manager Jim Reid contained no reference to a nonprofit.

According to state law, in the absence of a non-profit association, the music event must meet state noise levels of 50 to 55 dB. A loophole in the law allows an entity to exceed these healthy limits if the request is made in association with a non-profit organization. The previous two Live Nation events have exceeded these state noise limits, followed by 80 and 85 dB.

The BoCC has given concert organizers until close of business on July 6 to resolve the issue with their application and resubmit it. He scheduled a special meeting for July 14 at 9:00 a.m. to consider the revised request.

KHEN 106.9 Location in Salida (Photo by Taylor Sumners)

Live Nation approached KHEN late last week with an offer. KHEN radio is a 501. (c) (3) radio station, with eclectic programming and a loyal following, largely in the southern half of the county. It has no formal editorial functions.

The concert app has been the source of community disagreements centered in Buena Vista. There is significant and organized resistance to the event led by neighbors of The Meadows and a group of enthusiastic supporters. The resistance, based on concerns about traffic, noise and other crowd-related issues, is nothing new, having started almost from the first Live Nation concert in 2018.

This year, a primary health issue is woven into the conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and the much more dangerous Delta variant of the virus is quickly becoming the dominant strain in the country and in Colorado. It now represents one in four diagnosed cases. Recent outbreaks in Mesa and Alamosa counties have overwhelming health facilities there.

The vast majority of people who test positive are unvaccinated. Chaffee County represents 62.2% of eligible adults vaccinated, and children aged 11 and under cannot yet be vaccinated.

The county currently has a cap of 5,000 on all county events. The Board of Health has agreed to regularly review its parameters regarding the county’s health conditions. He has a special meeting scheduled for July 7 to review the situation and may or may not adjust the event cap.

The Live Nation representative drew the ire of the BoCC during its June 22 session, when it admitted that it had already sold 6,000 tickets for an event that had yet to be reviewed, let alone approved. Sources confirm they have continued to sell tickets, with 7,000 already sold.

Ark Valley Voice’s own community survey, while not very scientific, found that 35% of those surveyed were opposed to allowing any major event this year, clicking: “Nothing to do – All events in the county this year are expected to be primarily local. ” Coming in second with 22% was to “allow events up to 10,000, maybe with required vaccinations maybe without, depending on what public health says.”

Editor’s Note: Ark Valley Voice Editor-in-Chief Jan Wondra is a member of the board of directors of KHEN RADio station. She voted “no” on the board of directors on whether KHEN should accept the invitation to join in the controversial event.


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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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