Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 23, 2011

Festival forced to flee fairgrounds

Residents resist rave

by Glenn Wohltmann

An event that had some residents worried about potential problems was booted from the Alameda County Fairgrounds after an investigation by Pleasanton police.

Countdown 2012, which some locals said was a rave, will now be held at in Tulare County instead of the fairgrounds here.

"The promoter applied to have an event at the Fairgrounds and typically, as we always do, we worked with the Fairgrounds to provide security at the event. In working up background and intelligence, preparing for the event, what we learned was inconsistent with what the promoter told the fairground," said Pleasanton police Chief Dave Spiller. "I strongly encouraged the fairgrounds not to hold the event."

Spiller said the promoter's initial application called Countdown 2012 a family friendly event.

"They said it was going to be a holiday family-oriented music festival. There's no indication there was any family involvement at all. The marketing is consistent with raves," he said. "I didn't think it was in the best interest of the community."

Spiller added that it's not the Police Department's job "to be the morals police," but "to ensure the safety of the community for both the participants and the non participating community."

The event, billed as Northern California's largest New Years' Eve "massive music festival" will now be held at the Tulare County Fairgrounds in the Central Valley, about three hours away.

A statement on the event promoter's website makes no mention of being ousted by police, but said the organizers were unable to secure enough law enforcement to staff the event.

"Countdown 2012 has been forced to move locations due to local law enforcement's inability to staff the event and as a result, the Alameda County Fairgrounds management has decided to pull out. We have exhausted all options to make this event possible at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, including contacting other law enforcement agencies. However none of the local agencies can commit due to time restraints," the statement reads.

"We have secured and confirmed the closest available location. Countdown 2012 will now take place at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. We understand that this creates a commute for many attendees so we have secured multiple tour buses to shuttle to and from the event for free, for those ticket holders that don't want to drive."

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