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Moe.down return...


TURIN — A popular but controversial music festival that fled the town of Turin two years ago wants to return to its former Snow Ridge Ski Resort venue.

At a special meeting of the Town Council on Monday, the board and people involved in the festival discussed the potential return of moe.down.

Resort manager Judith E. Sweeney said Snow Ridge officials have been in contact with moe.down promoter Chuck Chao.

“They would love to come back. They are 95 percent sure,” Mrs. Sweeney said.

The festival was moved to Herkimer County in 2010 after 10 years in Turin.

What Mr. Chao had relayed through Snow Ridge owner Russell Horn were “a couple things they are looking for,” Mrs. Sweeney said, including asking the town to remove the per-head fee attached to each ticket sale.

Turin Supervisor Gerald R. Reed Jr. said the town had collected 75 cents from each ticket for potential court costs the town may incur as a result of activities at the event.

“To date, we’ve had two trials.” Mr. Reed said. “We talked about waiving fees two years ago, but the festival was moved before anything was formalized.”

Mr. Chao also asked for concessions with the emergency medical staff and ambulances on site.

Dwayne Salmon, an emergency medical technician in Turin, said a lot of those expenses are mandated by the state Department of Health.

Mass gatherings are any venue where more than 5,000 people are expected, and carry many different regulations. One of those requirements is to have two ambulances at the event.

“We’ve purchased and manned a second ambulance,” Mr. Salmon said, noting that purchase has reduced the rental costs of the second vehicle and manpower, which would be about $20,000 for the weekend.

The Turin ambulance squad also has a doctor on staff as the medical director, which reduces the number of transports to the hospital.

“In order to have these people here, they need to be compensated,” Mr. Salmon said.

For the medical side, Mr. Reed said, “We have to rely on the fire department. They know what they are doing.”

Mr. Chao also sought concessions from Snow Ridge. Mrs. Sweeney said Snow Ridge staff members were working with the promoter on that, but they needed to move quickly. They are considering a move to a date in August and ticket sales, planning and permits would have to start soon.

In the past, there was resistance from the county, Mrs. Sweeney said. She said she had already spoken with Lewis County Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli and “he was not opposed.” She said she also had a call in to Legislator William J. Burke, R-West Lowville, but had not heard from him yet.

Mr. Reed asked the board to consider waiving the 75-cent fee for one year, then revisit the waiver if the festival returns.

“I’d hate to see that be the reason it doesn’t return,” he said.

The council agreed to waive the fee for a year.

A bake sale at the library, book drive and Locks of Love have also coincided with moe.down in previous years and have benefited the community as well.

“It’s a good thing to get them back. It’s an economic boost, a shot in the arm,” said Michael Bobela. “We need this thing here. It’s just like the hill climbs. It’s a good time of year. Flip a coin, rain or shine, it doesn’t matter.”

For the past two years, moe.down has taken place at Gelston Castle Estates near Herkimer, where attendance declined “15 percent or more in their new location,” Mrs. Sweeney said.

In August 2010, Snow Ridge hosted a replacement music festival with disappointing results. The entire weekend saw only 1,000 concertgoers, with just 30 guests remaining on the last day.

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