Grizzly Fest hiatus: organizers want a long-term agreement with the City of Fresno

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Organizers of Fresno’s Grizzly Fest say it will be “in hibernation in 2020” – but confirm to CBS47 that the music festival has not been canceled.

The music festival took over north Fresno’s Woodward Park in 2018 and 2019. The announcement that it would not make an appearance this year came Wednesday.

The hiatus comes as organizers continue negotiations with the City of Fresno on securing a long-term agreement.

“It’s kind of sad because there’s a lot of people that look forward to that,” says Missy Wade who lives near Woodward Park.

The music festival started nearly seven years ago. It started in Downtown Fresno’s Chukchansi Park and in 2018 moved to Woodward Park.

Organizers have worked to establish the Woodward Park as their venue of choice, but that decision has been accompanied by controversy: from noise complaints from residents in the surrounding neighborhoods to issues with city permits.

It’s no secret Fresno City District 6 councilmember Garry Bredefeld has never wanted the festival in his district.

“Everybody knows I do not feel like it belonged in the park but I’m a supporter of the event I just feel like it should be downtown,” said Bredefeld.

Bredefeld says the “hibernation” news came as a surprise.

“I haven’t been involved with the negotiations with them the Mayor has been. His administration has been and apparently they couldn’t reach terms. I know based on the social media posts they haven’t come to any agreement.”

The City of Fresno has worked with the festival to fix issues raised over the past two years. Even though some residents are against the event, others who live nearby say they never had a problem with it

“Hopefully, they’re just taking a hiatus and not making a decision based off previous controversy. Most of the time it’s quiet by 9 or 10 o’clock. It’s once a year, ” says Wade.

In a statement, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said his administration is looking forward to continuing its relationship with Grizzly Fest.

“My Administration and I have worked very closely with the organizers of Grizzly Fest to bring quality entertainment to the area and we look forward to continuing our relationship on terms that are mutually satisfactory both to them and to the taxpayers of the City of Fresno who I was elected to protect and serve. We have discussed different long-term arrangements, subject to City Council approval, but have yet to come to agreement.”

Mayor Lee Brand

The promoter says the “hibernation” announcement was not negative and the plan is to come back bigger and better next year.

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