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What you need to know for 08/18/2017

Bid adieu to Camp Bisco

Bid adieu to Camp Bisco

An opportunity to pull the plug

The Duanesburg Planning Board is tiptoeing in the direction of making Camp Bisco a festival non grata next year, which, given the craziness that has enveloped the event the past few years, wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

At its meeting Thursday night, board President Sandra Scott indicated that Bisco’s promoters, MCP Presents, had failed to comply with a Sept. 1 deadline to provide a written analysis of this year’s festival, including a notarized statement on how many tickets they sold; and to participate in a review of the event with town officials. Such information would help the town determine the promoters’ attitude about whether they had fulfilled their responsibilities — and enable the town to judge whether they should be welcomed back in the future.

Town officials shouldn’t take this apparent blow-off lightly. Duanesburg residents have been greatly inconvenienced by the 7-year-old festival, which this year attracted upwards of 14,000 kids (despite a limit of 12,000 set by the town). The traffic and noise generated by such an event would be disruptive almost anywhere, but in a sleepy town like Duanesburg, with inadequate roads and parking, it can be almost unbearable.

Then there’s the fact that many of the festival participants are drinking and drugging almost from the time they arrive. As usual, there were drug-related problems this year, with scores of people treated at the scene or taken to area hospitals, and more than a dozen arrests.

The festival is fun for the kids who attend. It’s obviously profitable to Frank Potter, owner of the Indian Lookout Country Club where it is held, and maybe to a few stores that sell attendees gas and beer, but it’s hard to see how the rest of the town benefits from it.

According to Friday’s Gazette story, Bisco’s promoters aren’t currently on next year’s schedule, but Potter is already vowing to host something similar on his property. That’s why the other idea that emerged from Thursday’s meeting — the creation of a townwide mass gathering law — is a good one. It doesn’t matter who stages what kind of festival on what grounds, or who attends; the idea of establishing limits on attendance, and strict requirements for security, sanitation, parking, medical care, etc. makes a whole lot of sense.

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