Changes coming to Kit Carson Park concerts

Town hears community concerns regarding sound levels, camping

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 9/5/19

With the summer concerts coming to a close, town manager Rick Bellis, alongside several town of Taos employees, has compiled a list of do's and don'ts for future …

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Changes coming to Kit Carson Park concerts

Town hears community concerns regarding sound levels, camping

Posted

With the summer concerts coming to a close, town manager Rick Bellis, alongside several town of Taos employees, has compiled a list of do's and don'ts for future concerts in Kit Carson Park.

After experiencing a second year of Meow Wolf Taos Vortex - and feedback from the community - Bellis said they have decided to do things a little differently next year.

Number of days

Bellis said the three-day, all-day-and-night festival might not be the best option for Taos.

"It does seem in Taos that anything beyond two days falls off quickly in attendance, profitability and impact on the local economy," Bellis said in an email. "So, in most cases, the third day just doesn't make economic sense from what we have seen."

Camping nixed

The town will no longer be allowing camping at events in the future.

"[Camping] creates all sorts of logistical hurdles and costs while taking business away from our hotels that pay gross receipts taxes and lodgers taxes," Bellis said.

Start later

No music will be played before noon for concerts.

Music during the Vortex was constant, even on Sunday morning and town officials are saying this will be no more.

The town will work to ensure concert music at the park is over at 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m., especially on Sunday through Thursday.

Single stage

There will be only one stage of music for shows and festivals in the future.

The Vortex held two stages, often with simultaneous action or events going on. This presented a logistics issue to sound engineers as they tried to monitor the sound levels at the sound booths, Bellis said.

"Obviously, the other factor with electronic dance music is that it counts on very heavy bass and feeling that heavy reverb, which carries farther and is more impactful even at the same sound level as other concerts," Bellis noted in his email.

What's next

While Bellis recognized the efforts Meow Wolf went through to bring their art to Taos, he said the town would not agree to having another Vortex that mirrored this year's.

"In the end it has to be an event where Vortex contributes as much to the Taos community as the uniqueness of Taos adds to the Vortex," Bellis said.

Bellis also said there was no binding contract that the town signed with Meow Wolf and the agreement to hold the first show was on a "handshake" basis.

"We support the town of Taos and respect the shifts on restructuring use for future events at Kit Carson Park," said Meow Wolf spokesperson Laura Hudman.

"It is important that we recognize, admit to and correct for any missteps and listen to and incorporate the input of those affected both positively and negatively," Bellis said. "The alternative of doing nothing while the economy winds down and our population declines will only accelerate young people and our workforce leaving - and jobs, taxes and our ability to provide services to those that remain here or retire here continuing to decline."

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