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Jefferson County Rejects Wakarusa Move

LAWRENCE, KS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Jefferson County Commissioners have acted unanimously to reject an plan to move Wakarausa Music and Camping Festival from its former home Clinton State Park at Lawrence to the Circle S Ranch in Jefferson County.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, commissioners rejected the move, citing that proposed site for the festival did not have the infrastructure to support the event.

The commissioners pointed, among other things, to the gravel road that provides access to the ranch. "It’s not designed for this," County Commissioner Don Edmonds said. "If it would rain it would be nightmare."

Wakarusa's promoter, Brett Mosiman noted that the Jefferson county site was just one of several possible sites for the festival to move. Mosiman added that while he's trying to keep the event near Lawrence, that he was willing to look elsewhere.

"Our preference would be to leave the festival in Lawrence, but there hasn’t been a site presented to us that would work," Mosiman told the Lawrence Journal-World & News.

First held in 2004, Wakarusa had called Clinton Park its home since its inception but what Mosimon characterizes as unfair treatment has him looking for new digs for the event. Mosimon had objected earlier this year to what he called inequitable treatment by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks because his festival attracts a "hippie" crowd. Mosimon pointed to the much larger Country Stampede held at l at Tuttle Creek State Park near Manhattan and noted that when comparing contracts, Wakarusa had paid much more for rent and law enforcement services for the event.

"You can say cowboys are cool and hippies drool, but not if you're behind the state seal of Kansas," Mosiman told The Lawrence Journal-World. "It is profiling, it is discrimination, it is like saying the black kids can't use the pool."

The state tells a different tale, noting that Wakarusa has had what the state described as management issues including late payments to vendors and missing deadlines for presenting plans for traffic control to the state.

"We've heard that over and over again," Amy Thornton, staff attorney for the parks department said of the bigotry claim. "But, frankly, it is the management of the festival we're concerned about, not the people there."

The commissioners at Monday's hearing took pains to note that they weren't rejecting Mosiman's profile, but were simply addressing the suitability of the site.

"I’m not scared of your organization," Edmonds told the promoters. "I just don’t think we have the infrastructure." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers