Despite their concerns about combining a day of live music and educational activities with alcohol, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District voted yesterday to allow the organizers of the upcoming Chilla Vista festival to purchase extended park rental and alcohol permits for their event.
The IVRPD’s Board of Directors voted to sell an eight-hour park rental and alcohol permit to the organizers of the June 4 event, despite concerns that the district does not have the staff to monitor such a large event. The board also discussed the April 27 power outage in I.V. and the high number of couches burned in the street that night.
Chilla Vista will run from noon to 8 p.m. in People’s Park and the Embarcadero Hall Parking lot. Festival activities will include live music, a farmers’ market and an interactive exhibit on alcohol awareness titled the “Tunnel of Learning.”
Chilla Vista organizer Jake Lehman, a fourth-year global studies major, addressed the board’s concern that the presence of alcohol at such a long event would result in disorderly conduct. Lehman said the extended permit is necessary because organizers have planned so many activities for the fair. Chilla Vista staff are also training to ensure that the festival remains under control.
“From education, heath information and a policing standpoint, we’ve taken the appropriate measures; I feel 8 p.m. is appropriate,” Lehman said. “If something gets out of hand, we have the Foot Patrol to back us.”
Ten staff members, nine Associated Students Program Board security guards and two IVFP officers will patrol the event. In addition to learning non-violent policing methods, Lehman said, Chilla Vista staff members will also receive training from the IVFP on how to detect fake ID cards.
“We’re acknowledging that people are going to drink,” Lehman said. “We don’t want to be in the Nexus the next day with a headline saying Chilla Vista got 35 [alcohol-related] citations.”
Board Secretary Enid Osborn said the IVRPD initially wanted to limit Chilla Vista to six hours, as three other events are already scheduled for the same weekend. She said the IVRPD does not have the staff to supervise all the events at once.
In agreeing to allow the extended permit, the board decided that IVRPD staff will only oversee the festival as needed, rather than monitoring the entire event, as they normally do for alcohol-permitted events. Because of the festival’s size, the board increased the rental deposit from $250 to $1000.
IVRPD Director Diane Conn said she thought it was important that the IVRPD support the festival.
“All my time in the community I’ve never seen a proposal with this much detail,” Conn said. “They’re very motivated, very connected people, and they’re not just about the bands and beer.”
Board Director and Vice-Chair Eric Cummings said he is worried that the presence of alcohol at the event contradicts its stated purpose.
“If this is supposed to be the antithesis of Halloween, why have alcohol?” Cummings said. “If someone walks through the ‘Tunnel of Learning’ with a 40 in their hand, it’s ironic.”
During the meeting, the board also discussed the April 27 blackout in I.V., during which more than six couches were burned on the streets. Conn said during the outage, she tried to stop the couch burning but was unsuccessful.
“Within five minutes of the blackout, two couches were burning,” Conn said. “I come up with a bucket of water and they’re screaming ‘Let it burn!’ At one place they wouldn’t even let me get water.”
IVRPD Director Bryan Brown said that late spring is typically couch-burning season in I.V.
“You start to expect burning couches to rain down from the sky,” Brown said. “Thump, thump, thump.”