The latest in a line of mid-sized festivals to come under fire from local authorities fearing Woodstock-sized problems, Bash In The Grass is scheduled for Labor Day weekend with Train headlining September 2. The following day’s headliner will be announced soon.

The show will go on, according to promoter and founder Karl Steege, despite a June 29 vote by the Brookings County Planning and Zoning Board that fell one vote shy of approving a permit.

Steege compared the situation to the film “Footloose.”

“What they’ve done is made a ‘moral’ decision,” Steege told Pollstar. “Everything was already passed (by the city council and law enforcement bodies). We agreed to all the conditions. Then this board didn’t pass it.”

The sixth annual festival, which has grown from 500 its first year to 15,000 last year with Soul Asylum headlining, has never experienced major problems, according to Steege.

Three board members voting against the measure cited underage drinking as one of the primary factors in their decision, according to the Brookings Register. One other told the paper he did not think Bash In The Grass was “needed” in the area.

“Last year we had two kids who were hospitalized because of over-consumption (of alcohol) and one broken jaw,” Steege explained, pointing out that alcohol isn’t sold on-site.

The venue sits on a 100-acre alfalfa field owned by Steege. In years past, neighbors have complained of blowing trash and careless festival-goers trampling crops and knocking down mailboxes. Steege has mitigated some of the problems by planting 16 rows of corn around the site’s perimeter, and festival staff will distribute plastic garbage bags to all campers entering the area for clean-up.

Before the vote on whether to issue a permit to Bash In The Grass, Steege had agreed to be responsible for removing garbage from adjoining landowners’ properties for two weeks following the event.

In addition, Steege told Pollstar he had arranged for security including professional private security, off-duty police and “T-shirt” staff. A private ambulance has been hired, and Steege said he is working directly with local law enforcement to minimize problems.

He cited local worries over news reports of problems at larger festivals in the last year for influencing the board’s vote.

“We’ve grown in six years and we’re still having growing pains. They (local governmental agencies) are, too. We have to figure out how to work together on this. Our festival has been good for the community, but you can’t fault them for being concerned for safety,” Steege told Pollstar.

He can re-apply for a permit August 1, but plans on holding the festival anyway, citing approvals already secured from other agencies. “The planning board is supposed to deal with zoning and land-use issues, and this is on private property so it probably shouldn’t be before that committee anyway. It’s not land-use related. It’s on, though; we’re definitely not canceling it.”

Other bands scheduled for Bash In The Grass include Martin Zellar and the Hardways, Dazy Head Mazy and Slobberbone. Steege estimates around 40 bands will be signed to perform over the two days on two stages. Camping areas are provided on-site.