Festivals come and go every summer thanks to the brave and ambitious souls that take on the feat of pulling it all together. With great risk comes great reward, however it also can hold great consequence if anything goes wrong and for our protagonist, things got very complicated.
Steve Aranda, a central Illinois native had a vision to put on a three day camping music festival called Bass Landing in Woodford County, IL. Booking acts such as Barely Alive, Ganja White Night, Jphelpz, Dubloadz, Emalkay, Sikdope, Yheti, and many other local supporting acts it was turning out to be a filthy fantasy coming true. However as the festival drew near it began to fall apart at a detrimental rate putting Steve in a very tight position.
I was able to speak to Steve about the incident and get the inside scoop about what really caused Bass Landing to crash and burn. According to him he was in touch with the Zoning Commission which assured him that they didn’t need any permits to hold this festival until it was too late.
“We were there on 4/20 and they told us that they couldn\’t get us in until around 6/21 and that was if we got the paperwork done by the next day. We spoke with a lawyer about it and discussed our options. It was decided that refunding all of the publicly purchased tickets would be necessary and to only allow it to be open to people that were a part of a private group.”
In order to keep everything on track he was forced to change the event from public to private however even that wasn’t enough. With the festival starting in less than a week the property owner, Brenton Bittner, was served a subpoena which requested his appearance in court within 2 business days which limited their time to get in contact with a lawyer. The subpoena was a temporary restraining order to ban public entertainment on his property however as Brenton was explaining to the judge that it was changed from a public event to a private event the judge ruled against it.
“The judge stated that he was not allowed to listen to anything Brenton had said because he hadn\’t filed a verified response to the complaint. So the only thing that the judge was allowed to listen to was the complaint filed by the states attorney on behalf of the zoning commission.” After speaking to states attorneys he was introduced to the harsh reality that Bass Landing could not land at their original location at the Boondocks in Bloomington, IL because the event was public at a point in time.
With Bass Landing to start in less than 24 hours, Steve was rushing to find a suitable location to host the music festival. After hours of fielding phone calls and texts he was able to find a spot an hour and a half away from the original location and was able to accommodate all ages. However once the location was published on the Bass Landing Facebook page someone decided that Bass Landing should never happen and did the unthinkable.
“After I had posted it, someone decided to call the police to tell them that my event last year had a heroin overdose and was very dangerous (This is the first year of the event.) The property owner decided that they didn\’t want anything to do with it and backed out.”
After contacting every +18 venue and hearing back nothing he had to turn to the 21+ venues which would only allow some of the attendees. Thankfully a bar in Bloomington, IL called Daddios ended up answering Steve and was able to devise a plan for Ganja White Night and Nostalgia to preform on the Saturday of the event. Emalkay & Sikdope both ended up playing at another Bloomington bar called Chaser the same night both with only $10 covers! For those that couldn’t get into the bars they were given the option to hear a few artists such as Boogie T, Mamba, Cvndles, and Jodah at a local spot called the 808. You can also catch Dubloadz, Barely Alive, along with special guest Far Too Loud playing at The Castle Theater on July 21st.
“I had to continue to pay money for these performances to happen even though I knew I wasn\’t going to see any money from any of it. It was tough to do, but I knew it to be the right thing to do. I did my best to try and make the best of a bad weekend and it seemed to be okay for the majority of the people. I am so lucky to have a large network of supportive friends that would bend over backwards for me. Without them, I would be in a much worse place right now. ” Steve ended up losing $26,000 at the end of it all after booking artists, paying the vendors, security as well as the lighting and other festival necessities. If you’d like to help support this striving dreamer you can donate to his GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/FreedomOfMusic
When it comes to those that bought a ticket and have questions about ticket refunds he asks that everyone please be patient. “There is a lot to be processed and to please bear with me while I get everything put together and mailed out.”
Even with this massive collapse, Steve remains hopeful in his mission to strive on. “I am determined now more than ever to bring EDM back to our area! There is clearly a demand for it and people were even willing to come here from other states to join in on the fun!”