The Portland City Council unexpectedly postponed a vote on a potentially massive music festival proposed for Payson Park next summer, ultimately pushing the festival to 2024 at the earliest.
The concert had been proposed to take place over two days in July 2023. The council rescheduled a potential vote for June 21, 2023.
Councilor Andrew Zarro, who represents District 4, which includes Payson Park, brought the postponement forward after several public meetings with city staff and event organizers, the Austin-based event production company C3 Presents. According to Zarro, C3 agreed to postpone the festival to 2024 in order for the city to gather more information on the festival’s impacts on the neighborhood. The city and organizers now plan to meet with local stakeholders, like musicians and local arts commissions, along with the public.
Zarro said feedback he heard from the public was that this process was “too rushed” and that there were too many unknowns, like the festival’s cost and the impacts to ongoing construction already occurring on Baxter Boulevard.
The vote to postpone was unanimous, and the new Council will take this up again on June 21, 2023. Public comment was not accepted Monday night.
Mayor Kate Snyder said that the Payson Park festival differs from other events like the Maine Marathon, which applies for licenses without council approval.
“We’re learning through this process,” she said.
Emmett Beliveau, the chief operating operator of C3 Presents, estimated in November that the festival might draw 20,000 concert goers each of the two days of the festival. C3 had proposed giving $100,000 to the city’s Parks Conservancy in the first year, and then eventually switching to a different kind of financial tradeoff to Portland in subsequent years.
The organizers had been proposing two stages be set up in the park, and live music would go on from noon to 10 p.m. both days. A chain link fence would go up around the festival grounds.
Zarro said it is possible that C3’s application looks different when they return in June.