This just in from the Mateel Community Center:
An announcement sent out yesterday adds a new twist to the operatic saga of Reggae Rising. A new festival is coming to the North Coast next year, not far from the Humboldt/Mendo border, and it's on the same weekend as Reggae Rising. Looks like Mother Gaia is coming after the Reggae Phoenix.
If you watched the hearing on July 6, where the Planning Commission rejected Tom Dimmick's request for a permit to run Reggae Rising 2010, his festival along the Eel, you saw a Planning Commission torn by their duty. Dimmick had clearly failed to meet the requirements the Commission set forth: He'd run out of time and money and had not come up with the requisite letters of support from numerous agencies who had to sign off for the festival to move forward. The Commission could not and did not approve his permit for this year.
At the same time they recognized the festival's value to Humboldt County, especially to Southern Humboldt. At the previous meeting they'd been told by staff that Reggae brings in millions of dollars, directly and indirectly. They did not want to be the ones who signed the final death warrant on the Golden Goose. More than one Commissioner suggested another plan: They thought Dimmick should take another year to regroup, pay his debts off and come back in 2011.
While he did not say so at the time (he hinted he still might move this year's fest to an undisclosed location) that wait-until-next-year plan is what Dimmick announced on Wednesday. (See Reggae News Times Two.) In short, as noted on the festival website, "Reggae Rising has been postponed until August 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2011."
Meanwhile 37 miles south on HWY 101 near Laytonville, another story was unfolding. Earlier this year the folks who own Black Oak Ranch, aka the Hog Farm, announced that this September's Earthdance will be the last one on the ranch. However, as one of the Hog Farmers, Suzie Barsotti, explained to this reporter a few weeks ago, they were not giving up the festival business. While the Hog Farm collective feels Earthdance has outgrown the carrying capacity of the Laytonville community, they were making plans for a downsized event along similar lines: The Gaia Festival dedicated to Mother Earth. The unanswered question then was: What weekend to put it on?
The answer came yesterday in an emailed press release and it won't be good news for Tom Dimmick. The kicker is in the last line: The Gaia Festival is set to run August 5-6-7, 2011 -- the same weekend as Reggae Rising 2011.
Here's the spiel:
Back Roads Productions, the folks who bring us the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in northern Mendocino County, are pleased to announce a new summer festival at Black Oak Ranch; "THE GAIA FESTIVAL." The Gaia Festival is a manifestation of our desire to take personal responsibility with a global consciousness that is reflected through sustainable living, social & environmental activism, alternative energy, healing arts, theater, world-class music and more!
The Gaia Festival will include a series of connected villages throughout the grounds, each devoted to an aspect of life and the future health of all living things. Stroll down to the creek for a mid-day swim while attending a workshop on stream restoration and riparian health. Join discussions on traditional and emerging wisdom with the elders and youth councils in the Wisdom Village. Enjoy a massage, some yoga, or late night Kirtan in our Introspection Community Village. Visit the Illumination Eco-Village where there will be workshops on alternative energy, permaculture, green building, sustainable & communal living and environmental activism. Join the tribal dance in our 60' dome as darkness settles in each night. Innocence and Trust are the pillars with which we build our children's play zone, where kids get a chance to express themselves through art, music, storytelling, group games and a parade.
The central piece of the festival will be the Earth & Sky stage, nestled among the ancient oaks, where we will present a variety of world class performing artists bringing music from all genres expressing a positive message for our time.
There'll be plenty of great food & crafts provided by local non-profits and artisans featuring the north coast's finest organic and sustainable products.
Five stages, four directions, three days, too much fun, one love! THE GAIA FESTIVAL.
Stay tuned for more information about THE GAIA FESTIVAL, AUGUST 5-6-7, 2011
- Death of Dancehall Star leads to changes in Reggae on the River line-up
- Reggae Rising "Postponed"
First some sad news: As reported in the Jamaica Observer, "Godfather of Dancehall" Lincoln "Sugar" Minott died on July 10, at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew, JA. He was 54 and according to a friend had a history of heart trouble. Minott had just completed a new album. He and and his daughter Fire Pashon were about to embark on an American tour and were booked to perform at Reggae on the River at Benbow this coming Sunday.
The folks at the Mateel sent out this note today:
It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the news of the passing of one of reggae music's true legends and one of Reggae On The River's headlining artists, Sugar Minott. He passed away suddenly in Jamaica on Saturday, July 10, just before he had planned on embarking on a US tour highlighted by a performance at Reggae On The River. This is a great loss for Jamaica and the international reggae community and our hearts go out to all his friends, family, and fans.
As a tribute to his ever-lasting musical legacy, the 26th annual Reggae On The River will be dedicated in Minott's honor. On Sunday there will be an all-star tribute to Sugar Minott led by Don Carlos and friends. May you Rest in Peace Sugar.... you will be missed by all.
Understandably, Sugar's daughter, Fire Pashon, will also not be performing at the festival. Due to this unforeseeable change of events, the Mateel Community Center will now welcome a champion in the new roots and reality consciousness reggae movement, Prezident Brown, along with a warm up set by Cali favorites, Reggae Angels.
The revised festival line-up on Sunday, July 18 is as follows:
10 a.m. - Gates open
10:45- Seed N Soil
11:25- Messenjah Selah
12:45- Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca
2:30- Reggae Angels
2:55- Prezident Brown
4:40- Sister Carol
8:20- Don Carlos
8:50 All-Star Finale for Sugar Minott
News from the other local Reggae festival came not in a press release, but in message on the Reggae Rising Festival webpage and their Facebook page. As you have probably heard, Dimmick Ranch LLC failed to meet requirements to get the permit required for this year's festival, which was supposed to take place August 6-8 at Dimmick Ranch. At a special Planning Commission meeting on July 6, Tom Dimmick was asked what would happen regarding tickets already sold if his permit was rejected. At the time he said he was considering two options: either move Reggae Rising 2010 to a new location or ask ticket-holders to wait for "something better down the road."
It seems he is going with Plan B.
Today's post is titled, "Reggae Rising Festival Postponed."
Reggae Rising has been postponed until August 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2011. It is a difficult loss this year for the community of Southern Humboldt, and an even greater loss for the world community of reggae fans that have come to love and expect this event each year. Tickets for the 2010 event are not refundable and will be valid for the postponed festival.
In addition to honoring the tickets sold for the 2010 event at next year's festival, we will also be including many High-Grade Upgrades exclusive only to those who purchased tickets for the 2010 event. Among these upgrades will be Free VIP Access, Free T-Shirts, Free DVD's, Free Digital Downloads, and More.
However, looking at the big picture, the most crucial value in keeping your current ticket for next year is the positive support you offer to us by doing so. Your support, love, and positivity is the key to the Irie and Conscious Vibes we all know, respect, and need in our lives. All of these essential elements will work together to bring Reggae Rising back next year stronger than ever. Please accept our sincere apologies as we are truly sorry for this major let down and urge all current ticket holders to please remain positive and tuned in for important future announcements...
Meanwhile some disgruntled ticket-holders are taking action, again via Facebook. A new group formed called "IF THEY DON'T REFUND REGGAE RISING TICKETS WITH THE QUICKNESS..."
Creator John Pusch, a reggae fan from Fairfax, describes it as, "A group for all the people and people who know people who bought their tickets to Reggae [Rising] ahead of time to join together as a group and move forward with a class action lawsuit against Tom Dimmick if refunds are not issued before July 20th."
Addressing Mr. Dimmick directly, Pusch continues, "Ripping people off is not Irie, y'all shouldn't have been selling tickets if you had knowledge that permits may not be issued. Reggae fans like to promote peaceful solutions to their problems but come on Tom, I don't care if you have to sell your ranch to pay us back."
A quick read through the posts and comments on the new FB page and on the Reggae Rising Festival Facebook page shows that some have had success getting ticket refunds from their banks or credit card companies, while others have not.
Tom Head, owner of Coastal Tree Service, called into the Journal this morning to give his side of the illegal clearcut that happened last month on the Trinidad Bluffs, at the top corner of the city-owned archaeological site known as Tsurai Village and directly beneath the home of Trinidad Planning Commissioner Sam Pennisi and his wife, Sharon. (The story of the clearcut was featured in this week's Journal.)
What did Head have to say? To paraphrase: He charged that Sharon Pennisi was simply lying when she told the Times-Standard that the cutting on the Tsurai site was the result of a "misunderstanding" -- in other words, not a matter of her family clearing city trees to improve their view of the ocean but the result of a rogue landscaper doing work he was not hired to do. Head rejected this understanding of events in the most strenuous possible terms.
"I did exactly what she told me to do," he told the Journal. "I didn't do anything that they didn't tell me to do. We were told to cut everything on that hillside down to a certain point."
Head said that Sharon Pennisi contacted him about the job on June 15. This would have been just four days after Sam Pennisi came into City Hall complaining that city staff had stopped another company -- Professional Tree Services -- from performing the same work, according to an internal city of Trinidad memo obtained by a member of the Tsurai Ancestral Society. At the time, according to the memo, Pennisi complained about the trees beneath his home obstructing his view of the ocean.
Head and Coastal Tree Services started work on the job the day after Sharon Pennisi contacted him. Further contradicting Sharon Pennisi's story to the Times-Standard, Head said that she was at the job site off and on throughout the day and a half that Coastal Tree Service worked before being shut down by Trinidad City Manager Steve Albright. Head said that Sharon Pennisi was well aware of the work that was being performed. Several times, he said, he went to her door to inquire about the work that was underway.
"She was telling us, 'Keep going further. Go lower. Go lower,'" Head said.
In the end, none of Coastal Tree Service's landscaping work had been performed on Pennisi property; all of it was on the city-owned Tsurai site. Head said that Sharon Pennisi had told him that the land he was working belonged to the Pennisi family, rather than the public, and that all the relevant permits had been seen to.
"She said her husband was on the planning council, and everything had been taken care of," he said. "So I didn't question it. Do you know what I mean?"
Head said that he had already been interviewed by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, which is currently investigating the matter. He said that he could not speak about that interview, but he reiterated that the Pennisi family was incorrect in suggesting that Coastal Tree Service had somehow decided to clear that section of the bluffs on its own.
"I was called, I was hired to do a project, I did the project I was hired to do," Head said.
Have you ever dreamt that gorgeous local folk chanteuse Lila Nelson would write a song just for you? Uh, der. Of course you have, just as you've no doubt fantasized about being pals with the cool kids in electro-Martian pop trio The Monster Women -- y'know, eating dinner out with 'em, showing up in the background of a music video, maybe staying up late together on a weeknight to watch Japanese sci-fi movies and make banana/M & M waffles. Oh coolness, you elusive minx.
Or perhaps not so elusive?
Both of these badass musical acts are offering wish fulfillment in exchange for music video patronage (aka "scrilla," aka "cash money"). Through a website called kickstarter.com they're attempting to raise $5,000 apiece for new music videos, to be directed by local filmmaker Maria Matteoli. The waffles 'n' movies night isn't among the incentives, sadly, but everything else listed above is, along with a few delights even our twisted minds hadn't conjured: Pledge $300 bucks to Lila Nelson and she'll shower you with VIP goodies and then personally cut your hair. (Rad!) $500 to the Monster Women will earn you that dinner out and a cameo in the vid. (Here I come, social cache!)
Matteoli sent us an e-mail alerting us to these concurrent Web-drives, which end later this month. If they don't make their goal, no videos. The Shanty will host a Monster Women concert and barbecue on Sunday, July 18 to assist the effort.
Emo Joes on the hipster fringe might argue that you can't buy coolness, that money may get your name in the credits but it won't make you, like, a more authentic person or anything. They may have a point, but I bet their hairstylists can't sing for shit.
The T-S today reports that a Humboldt County jury has penalized Skilled Health Care to the tune of over $600 million for health code violations. The for-profit company runs a chain of nursing homes with five local outlets.
Wondering what the fuss was about? Read Journal freelancer Carol Harrison's disturbing account of Skilled Health Care's corporate abuse of both its employees and, especially, its patients, from our June 4, 2009 issue. Seriously chlling stuff.
According to Anne Sexton, the poet, the hornet really is out to get you. You. "He would get in the house any way he could ... looking for you," she wrote in the poem "Hornet."
Do not sleep for he is there wrapped in the curtain.
Do not sleep for he is there under the shelf
Do not sleep for he wants to sew up your skin,
he wants to leap into your body like a hammer
with a nail...
And, apparently, when he's not actively looking for you, potentially murderous Hornet wants to lure you to him:
...do not sleep
he wants you to walk into him as into a dark fire.
Which is why, when most people see a hornet, they run. Which, according to hornet-hunter Jim Weidert, is a stupid thing to do.
You don't run, says the retired schoolteacher from Grass Valley, who with his wife and kids has been relieving Humboldt County residents of their hornets nests since 1973. No quick movements. If one lands on you, don't blow on it, don't squeeze it, don't swat it, don't wave your hand at it or otherwise annoy it. Just be still. Let it walk around a bit on your prickling skin. Then gently flick it.
Don't run. Because Hornet will follow you, yes, right into your house or your car or wherever it was you thought you might hide. And hundreds of siblings might join the hot pursuit. (But if you are stung, then do run: The stinging releases an alarm pheromone, inciting that sibling gang for certain into pursuit. Run, run and hide in that house or car.)
Although, caveat: Anne Sexton's hornet is a put-on. It is a "he." And a he-hornet is a drone, and drones don't have stingers. You really could let him walk around on your hand waggling his long, handlebar-mustachio antennae, tickling you with his six dainty feet. But he would not, could not, sting you. You could take him for a pet, feed him apples and strawberries if you like, offer him sips from your soda.
It is She you don't want to anger.
For more about hornets and yellowjackets and the Weidert family's summer-fun-money profession, check out this week's Journal, on the stands now and online tomorrow. And to read Sexton's poem, go here.
The Humboldt County Planning Commission met tonight to make a thumbs up, thumbs down decision on the permit for Reggae Rising 2010. They said it was hard -- they didn't really want to do it -- but they rejected the request for a conditional use permit -- unanimously. Details pending...
We are very sad to announce that the conditional use permit for the 2010 Reggae Rising Festival has not been approved. For all the fans that have stayed positive, please stay tuned for a detailed announcement regarding this years event.
By special request from the boss, a bunch of party pics from Saturday including shots of the new Old Town Journal offices in progress.
A litle home video glimpse of the Journal's party on the Eureka Boardwalk Saturday night...
GOOD! I was Boycotting the Businesses that Advertised on them anyway!
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