Street show no go
Firefall concert now planned at Vermijo Park; debate exposes issues in granting event permits

       Unable to wait any longer for a special-event permit from City Police, Old Colorado City businessman/promoter Charlie Cagiao has withdrawn his request to close off Colorado Avenue for a second free concert by a nationally known rock band.
       Instead of the originally planned June 24 date, he is now hopeful of rescheduling the band, Firefall (which had hit songs in the 1970s), in Vermijo Park on the last weekend in July. Because no streets would be closed off, he would not need a special-event permit but just an OK from City Parks, he said.
       Cagiao also has a request in to City Parks for a concert in Bancroft Park on July 4. The band - a spinoff of Territory Days favorite Brulé, including John Eagle and Arville Bird - plays American Indian music with rock stylings. No streets would be closed.
       He is waiting for a response on both requests, he said.
       Cagiao announced his withdrawal of the Firefall application at a neighborhood meeting June 6 that was called to discuss residential impacts from Territory Days, but which also brought up the subject of street concerts and city policies for handling special-event permits.
       Police Sgt. Robert Weber, who is in charge of special events for his department, said at the meeting that he had tabled Cagiao's Firefall application because of “concerns about adding events to the Old Colorado City area.”
       This was in reference to street-closure opposition from the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group board, which had been lobbied by some merchants in the 2600 block who felt their businesses had been impaired by closing the 2400 through 2600 blocks of the avenue for the Cagiao-OCCA Jefferson Starship concert May 6 .
       Meanwhile, Cagiao said he has a survey showing 48 merchants in favor and only 7 opposed to another street concert. Roughly 5,000 people attended the Starship concert, which Cagiao believes brought good exposure to Old Colorado City.
       Terming the situation a “hot potato,” Weber said at the meeting that he had “no real guidlelines” for making a decision in such a case.
       A related issue, Old Colorado City artist/businesswoman Laura Reilly said at the meeting, was the lack of a public hearing opportunity for special-events permits. The way it stands now, such permits are decided at unpublicized meetings of city department representatives.
       Councilman Jerry Heimlicher, who was at the meeting, said the special-events process in general needs to be improved, and he and City Parks Director Paul Butcher offered to look into it.
       Weber's initial tabling decision on Cagiao's Firefall request occurred May 17, he said. With still no approval or denial from Weber by the start of June, Cagiao decided he had run out of time - hence the decision to try instead for late July at Vermijo.
       Cagiao had hoped to close off 25th to 27th streets for Firefall. With OCCA deciding not to back that concert, he said he has lined up several non-profit groups to help with front-end costs for this and other concerts he is planning.
       Also tentatively set is the Ten Years After band, another nationally known band from the '60s and '70s, in Vermijo Park Sept. 9.
       Cagiao's wants to keep having concerts in the Old Colorado City area because he believes they will help bring people to the area - helping his business and others there. “Everybody is suffering on the street now because of a lack of people,” he said.
       But if he has trouble getting approval for Vermijo - or Bancroft for the July 4 concert - Cagiao would consider a paid venue such as the City Auditorium downtown. “I don't mind making money,” he quipped.

Westside Pioneer article