Councilors grant fee waiver for Guitars Under the Stars festival

By Audrey Caro

Lebanon Local

The Lebanon City Council approved a one-time fee waiver for Guitars Under the Stars’ use of Cheadle Lake Park during its monthly meeting .

City Manager Gary Marks said that although $3,250 in park rental fees were waived, the event organizer Jason Cripe agreed to pay $1,900 to the Lebanon Community Foundation for equipment rental.

Cripe said he was excited to bring the four-day music festival back after a two-year hiatus.

The money saved in park fees would be “converted to advertising dollars,” Cripe said.

Councilor Jason Bolen asked how much and what type of advertising he planned to do.

“We have shifted our focus to social media,” Cripe said.

He’s learned from the strategies of Hair Fest in Canby, he said.

There have been more hits on the website and more response on social media, he added.

“We don’t have the sponsors to do what Bi-Mart does, for example,” Cripe said, referring to the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival in Brownsville.

“I don’t have a problem with it, as long as it’s one time,” said Councilor Rebecca Grizzle. “There is public good in most events that are (at Cheadle Lake). I wouldn’t mind a one time as long as we understood it was just one year to get them going.”

Mayor Paul Aziz agreed.

“This is a privately funded event with the community in mind,” Cripe said. “I grew up in this town. My brother is on the police force.”

Cripe stressed Guitars Under the Stars is a family-friendly event.

“We’ve had zero incidences that we know of with the police department,” he told the council. “We returned the park in good order.”

Cripe said there will be free admission the first night of the event, Thursday, July 26. Tribute bands to Rush, Faith No More and Judas Priest are scheduled to perform.

Ty Curtis is playing on Friday, blues night. Saturday is hard rock and heavy metal day, featuring Light the Torch. Quarterflash is scheduled to play Sunday.

There also will be a 50-foot water slide and misting station, fire dancers and disc golf.

They also hope to set the record for “longest guitar solo by a teen,” Cripe said. “We know, after 11 p.m. it has to go below 80 decibels.”

City Council Robert Furlow said he would like Cripe to return to the Council after the event.

Citizen committees

City staff is looking to combine some citizen advisory committees, councilors were told.

Marks said he and City Clerk Linda Kaser reviewed the committees and will recommend at an upcoming meeting that the council make some changes.

“Specifically, we will recommend combining the tree element from the current Trees and Parks Committee with the Bike and Ped Committee to create a new ‘Trees and Trails Committee,’” Marks said in a memo to the council.

The current committees often don’t have business to discuss, Marks said.

“It seems inefficient and a waste of folks’ time.”

The new committee would focus on tree-related issues and non-motorized transportation systems, such as bike and pedestrian trails, he said.

“We will also recommend formalizing the process used for Strawberry Plaza, Gillott Dog Park and the Northside Welcome Sign, where specific park issues and projects are addressed through ad hoc committees with committee members drawn from an immediate neighborhood or on the basis of a particular interest in a project,” Marks said.

The changes “will create more effective committees that will give citizens more meaningful interactions with the city and its projects,” he said.