Will Gathering of the Vibes Change Locations?

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Promoters of the popular Gathering of the Vibes festival may be on the hook for a few hundred thousand dollars from police overtime. Hearst Newspapers obtained spreadsheets detailing the last few years showed that taxpayers were footing a good chunk of the bill. GOTV was supposed to compensate the city for those costs.

“In 2010 officers, including several members of the force assigned to narcotics, earned nearly a quarter of a million dollars in overtime pay — a total of $248,385 — for policing the Vibes. Event organizers reimbursed the police department $112,351.

For the 2011 event, police overtime increased to $250,205 and the city subsequently received a $115,000 check from the Vibes.”

A five year contract extension is coming up for Gathering of the Vibes and the city council is itching for cash. They want $250,000 for the police, to increase the rental fee by $10,000, and Vibes would have to reimburse wastewater costs. This could be the tipping point where the promoter picks up stakes and moves the whole festival.

Our Take: There’s certainly a fine line between public safety and an overtime pay bonanza for local law enforcement. Lose the undercover narcs. They are a hassle, nothing more. If folks want to take drugs at a music festival, there is no force on earth that will stop them, let alone a few extra cops bilking the system for overtime pay. If cities are truly concerned about “public safety” spend the money on EMS services.

Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.