Although Electric Forest was granted placement at the Double JJ Ranch for the next ten years, the festival must face the Grant Township Board every year for a mass gathering permit, and they just barely scraped by this year. By a margin of 3-2 votes, the gathering was granted and the festival was allowed to go on.
The township only has a population of around 3,000, yet according to general admission tickets in 2014, over 34,000 festival goers attended this past year. According to Norm Halbower, who is part of the ranch’s ownership group, the festival drew many different and acceptable individuals, “I met educated people from all walks of life, including architects and brilliant minds of stage and theater.” Yet, it was clear in the voting proceedings that certain board members were against the festival’s return.
“Money doesn’t make evil right, so I’m voting against it,” said township treasurer Joanne Heck.
“The majority are friendly, pleasant and polite people,” said township trustee Joan Brooks, who voted “yes.”
“The general consensus is that it’s OK, but there are people it offends. I’m going to show respect for the people it does offend, so I’m swinging the bat for the little guy and I’m voting against it,” said township trustee Jim Aebig.
“I’m definitely in favor of the festival,” said township clerk/treasurer Bill Wagner, who has served on the board for 43 years. “The financial resources it brings is a benefit to us.”
Township Supervisor Roger Schmidt cast the final “yes” vote.
I’m not exactly sure what “evil” Ms. Heck is referring to, but we’re glad that at least three of the five members had the right idea. Certain amendments were offered in opposition to the complete refusal to allow the festival to continue. Local resident Mark Ferris requested that the festival’s music cease at 1 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. “It might give the public a break on the noise pollution,” he said. Though the board voted for the 3 a.m. ending time to remain.
The festival is set for June 25-28, 2015.
Source: Oceana Press