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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Council To Discuss Freeman Park Festivals, Vendors and Operations September 11

Carolina Beach Council To Discuss Freeman Park Festivals, Vendors and Operations September 11

The Carolina Beach Town Council will discuss festivals and vendors at Freeman Park at their September 11, meeting. Concerns were raised in June about activity at one popular festival set for September 7 and 8.

By: WILLARD H. KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH – The Carolina Beach Town Council will discuss events, vendors and operation of Freeman Park at their upcoming September 11, meeting.

Mayor Pro-Temp Shuttleworth requested the item be placed on the agenda following some concerns expressed to him by a citizen.

Freeman Park, located at the end of Canal Drive in Carolina Beach, is one of the few areas on the east coast that permits four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach. Camping and campfires are permitted in designated areas. Each vehicle is required to display a pass to enter the park. The cost of the season permit is $60.00 from January 1 to March 31.  After March 31, the cost of the annual permit is $100. Daily passes are $20.00 at the entrance.  Weekend passes are $40 for 2 days and $50 for 3 days.

According to Town Manager Tim Owens, currently there is only one organized event that has been approved by the Town for Freeman Park. The Revolution Festival is being held the second time this year on September 7th and 8th. Owens explained in a memo to the Council earlier this week, “The Revolution Festival is entering into its second year and has expanded recently to 2 times per year. This event is sponsored by the Arts and Activities Committee. The next event will be held on the weekend following Labor Day. In the past, the event was free with the September event being a ticketed event. The primary reason for charging was to help control the crowd and potentially generate additional revenue for charities.”

He explained, “There were some concerns expressed with the conduct of the crowd at the Spring event. Likewise, I have concerns with some of the content that I have seen on the Revolution website and some concerns with marketing materials. If this event is allowed to continue, I do recommend that the organizers form their own non-profit and hold the event under their name. This set up could help limit any exposure that the Town may have in the future.”

The website is www.revolutionbeachfest.com

Owens expressed concerns about insurance liability earlier this year at the Council’s June meeting. Currently the festival operates under the Town’s insurance policy. Several council members said they heard reports from citizens of illegal drug use and numerous incidents of people being taken to the hospital.

The event organizer Michael Oliver said he wasn’t aware of 30 cases of emergency room visits as mentioned by one Council member, but was aware of a few cases.

Police Chief Kurt Bartley verified that one person was taken to the hospital and placed on a ventilator for several days before being indentified to contact family members. It was unknown if that incident was directly related to the festival, but Bartley said the person was located near the festival.

Oliver said in June the event was free and open to the public and funds to hire security were limited. He told the Council a fee would be charged for the September event in order to increase security and maintain better control over the festival using a fenced in area to enforce rules including no weapons, no glass bottles and no liquor.

The mission statement on the event website reads, “Our goal is to create an event that supports doing good for the world, while having fun, without requiring additional effort from the user. For example, many people set aside money for Festival Season but we'd like to inspire you to put that in a place where it'll be used to help the world. The profits from our festival goes to charity, so the more funds we can raise the more good that can be done. We also support sustainable living. From using solar power, having recycling bins, to thoroughly sweeping ALL the trash off the beach from the event. We do everything we can within our means to take the best possible care of our Mother Earth as we can. More than anything else, we hope to inspire YOU to join us and be a part of the movement! If we can make the amazing experience of music festivals even more amazing with the good karma of helping less fortunate, we stand to really do a lot of good for the world. With a little luck we might even change the world!”

Owens explained, “To a lesser extent, there are, on occasion, impromptu events that are held at Freeman Park. These events are typically private gatherings such birthday parties, Boy Scout Troop gatherings, weddings, surf contests, etc. Typically, I have approved these events if they remain small, no tickets are being sold, and are only open to invitation.”

Owens provided information on “Vending On Freeman Park” but didn’t indicate there are concerns about such activity. He explained, “Approximately 3 to 4 years ago, the Town Council allowed vending of items to occur at Freeman Park. The primary reasons considered were the size of the park, the amount of time and effort it would take to leave the park and return, and the service that it would provide patrons whether day trippers, fisherman, or campers.”

He explained the total number of allowed vendors at Freeman Park is 6 (4X4 vendors) and 2 (push cart vendors). Currently, there are a total of 7 approved vendors. The vendors sell food, beverages, sundries, ice, firewood, fishing equipment and beach apparel such as hats, t-shirts and sunglasses.
Owens explained the Town does allow delivery of items to the park provided that a privilege license is acquired from the Town. The delivery of items is not regulated and ranges from pizza, chairs, umbrellas, or any other item that could be delivered. Those delivering items are not permitted to sell items unless an order is specifically placed for that item.

The Town also allows tow truck operators to provide services in Freeman Park provided that they acquire a privilege license to operate in the Town. On major holiday weekends, the Town does periodically contract with towing companies to help insure that the traffic continues to move and back-ups are limited at the entrance to the park. Traffic jams often become a major problem following a number of days without rain when the sand is especially dry. Those dry conditions can make it hard for some vehicles to traverse the beach.

Services the Town Provides within Freeman Park:

• Up to 2 gate attendants on duty during the Summer months
• Roughly 125 trash receptacles that are emptied 1 daily during the week day and 2 to 3 times on weekends during the season. More receptacles with more frequency during holidays.
• Beach sweep for debris on a daily basis often to include in the dune area.
• Rope fencing, sand fencing, and regulatory signage at about 80 hours per month during the summer and 2000 hours in the offseason.
• Street sweeping and other heavy equipment needs on a periodic basis with higher frequency in the summer months
• 1 officer on duty 24 hours a day, year round. Additional officers on duty during summer weekend peak hours and holidays.
• 30 port-a-johns serviced daily throughout the year and twice daily on peak weekends and holidays.
• Up to 4 lifeguards on peak weekends during the summer
• Fire protection and limited medicals calls. The Town is currently working a plan to expand fire protection and rescue capabilities in this area due to the popularity of the park which will be presented to the Town Council once completed.

The Council will discuss the issue of large events within the park at their September 11, meeting starting at 6:30PM at Town Hall; 1121 N. Lake Park Blvd.