Garden Party Grows Debts

A permit denial and last-minute change of venue for a festival in northern California have an Ashland, Ore., promoter considering legal action against Tehama County.

Mystic Garden Party was originally to take place on private property in an olive orchard near Redding, but a week before the July 21-26 concert, county officials denied the event permit.

While organizers were able to find a new home for the music, art and yoga fest at Water Wheel Park in nearby Manton, Mystic Garden Party CFO Jason Gallagher told Ashland’s Daily Tidings the damage had already been done as ticket sales plummeted. About 1,000 fans showed up instead of the expected 3,000.

“They gave permission, then they got nervous and canceled it after we’d invested a tremendous amount,” he said. “We are in deep.”
But Tehama County planner Bob Halpin explained to the paper that it wasn’t nerves at all.

“If they want to sue, we’re ready for them,” Halpin said. “We did everything in a timely manner and we told them months before that they needed a special permit.

“They applied two weeks before the event and we denied it the Monday before. He left himself with short notice and not much room to wiggle. He told us it would be a bunch of people and some bands, not 2,500 people. He misrepresented himself.”

Gallagher alleges Tehama officials told the media the festival had been canceled after the permit denial, leading to “a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket sales in the final days” before the event.

Numerous vendors have gone unpaid, the paper said, but Mystic Garden is reportedly working to raise funds to pay the outstanding debts before the case is turned over to the district attorney.