It is with great sadness that we must announce that NedFest is cancelled for this summer. It was an exceptionally difficult decision to make but we felt that land use decisions made by the Nederland Board of Trustees and town administration have rendered the ball field unusable.
First, allowing the softball field to be an Eldora employee parking lot has completely destroyed it. What was a nice grassy lot to throw your blanket down on and play with the kids (last year we had 136 children under 12 at the festival) is now a barren, rock hard gravel and dust parking lot. Last summer if even the slightest breeze blew everything from the instruments on stage to the food and arts and crafts in the vendor booths was covered in a thick brown film. Now there is a greenhouse currently going up where our backstage tent goes and a garden that would take up some close-in audience viewing area and where many of our sponsors have their booths. Restrooms are being built where our stage goes, and a bike track where the food and beer vendors and a big chunk of the audience go. We know that some of this won’t be done by next August but some of it will, other things like the restrooms will be half done and just in the way, and then there is the issue of the barren parking lot of a field.
We want to make this very clear: We are NOT against the park redevelopment. Many years ago when the early plans were proposed we were excited by the prospect of making the festival more like the bigger festivals, having a second stage down by the water and the whole footprint inside the fence way larger. But the configuration of the new park will not work with our needs. We need a 40 x 32 foot stage (that is a requirement in the contracts of most national touring acts), space for 1500 people in front of it, and flat level ground for 40 or so vendor and sponsor booths. The space planned for the stage down by the water was designed as a small stage with room for 400 spectators, going all the way to the water, so is not big enough.
Why not make the festival smaller? Most of our overhead costs are fairly fixed and aren’t that different if we have 800 or 2000, or even 2 days instead of 3, which is why we have 3. Before we pay a single penny to a musician our daily cost is about $23,000, so we need to have a big enough audience and known artists that people will pay $60 to see in order to cover our costs. Contrary to popular opinion, NedFest doesn’t make any money and no one gets paid except the musicians and production crew. The losses are covered by sponsors and board members and credit cards. It’s a big party we throw for town because we have so much fun doing it. It’s a community bonding thing every year, almost like an annual family reunion where you see people that you haven’t seen since last year’s festival.
So here we are. Please don’t ask us to try and move it out of town and start all over. We have all worked unbelievably hard for free for years and just aren’t up to it. And it was always meant to be a walk-to-it festival and has been for many of our attendees, which is why we never had too many parking problems. We understand that there are going to be a couple thousand very disappointed people (tickets will be refunded soon!) and some angry ones, too. Trust us, we are sadder than you.
Lastly, when Jim Guercio, owner of the Caribou Ranch Studios (and producer of dozens of albums you know) gave the land for the ball field to the town the only requirement was that it be named the Jeff Guercio Memorial Ball field after his late brother. Since this new park has been named Barker Meadows we submit that the music pavilion, if ever built, should be named the Jeff Guercio Memorial Pavilion, or at least the Guercio Pavilion. Jeff was a musician and athlete and lived here (even played music at the PI).
Don’t despair. The music will never die in Nederland!
Thanks to everyone in the NedFest family for all of your support and love!
Rob, Deb, Swifty, Marc, Danielle, Kris