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Revolution Festival Organizers Address Council On Future Events

The Carolina Beach Town Council expressed their dissatisfaction with the Revolution Festival held September 7th and 8th at Freeman Park based on police reports of illegal drug activity and numerous arrests.

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CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council expressed their dissatisfaction with the Revolution Festival held September 7th and 8th at Freeman Park based on police reports of illegal drug activity and numerous arrests.  The Council agreed the event would no longer be a "Town sponsored event" and if it returned in the future as a standalone event, it would likely not be approved.
At the Council's October 9th, meeting festival organizer Michael Oliver explained, "We had met last time talking about ticketing and setting up a gate and all of the other issues we had before based on there being drug citations and hospital visits and things. We talked about setting up a gate, having wristbands and all of those sorts of things so we could separate the two crowds. That's what we did and we had I think it was 30 some tickets were written while we were out there but they were all outside the gate."
Oliver said, "Basically we wanted to open it up to you guys to rediscuss it. It's certainly something we don't want to stop doing. We've gotten it built up over the years and it’s starting to do well and I would hate to see it go away."
He said a newspaper report focused on negative aspects. He said, "We really do a lot of good things. We've been raising money for charities. We always clean the beach up as you are aware and do everything we can to work with you guys in every way possible."
He said in September they agreed to pay $1,200 for additional police security and, "I don't think they saw any problems other than people not wearing wristbands and sneaking in. Outside the gate of course is another story because Freeman Park is Freeman Park and it can get pretty wild out there."
Oliver said the two-day music festival is, "To inspire the individuals coming to the event to be really a part of the idea that you are doing something good. Our committee for the festival chose four different charities and the people who come to the event get to vote and chose which charity" they help fund.
He said, "It's really not so much about partying or getting super wasted or anything along those lines, we certainly don't advocate anything like that. It's really about trying to do something good for the world."
Last year funds were donated to help fund drinking wells in Africa.
Oliver said, "We really can't control whether or not people bring drugs and whether or not they do drugs. The only thing we can really do is increase police security or create a gate. Everything that's within our power to do, we will do." He said to his knowledge no tickets were written inside the gate during the festival.
Police Chief Kurt Bartley said officers who made arrests asked, "Why are you here, just for a weekend at the beach? And they all said they were there for the festival. That was on everybody that we wrote. We could have wrote more but it rained and my officers had to get back to process other prisoners. We don't have that volume on an average weekend."
Councilman Bob Lewis said he appreciates the environmental aspects of the festival but, "I can't in all honesty have a town function that sponsors something that attracts that type of element in the community."
Lewis cited some questionable social media advertising saying, "To me it was like come on down here, bring on the drugs, we're going to have a party down here." Lewis compared it to the 1960's and Woodstock.
He said 31 arrests is a lot of arrest and the police chief said it could have been more and the people were attracted by the event. He praised Oliver for how they kept the beach clean and their mission, but said he couldn't support it.
Oliver said if they put the same number of officers out at Freeman Park in July they would probably make far more arrests.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said he attended the festival and, "The majority of people that were outside the fence were there for your festival. You have more than an uphill climb. Unfortunately, it is what it is and council at the last meeting said they would not support another Revolution Festival. I'll cut to the chase with you on it. I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry that the actions of others impacted you."
Shuttleworth said he applauds the worthy causes they support but said, "I would be very surprised if the Town would allow you to have that up there again" citing input he received from residents saying they felt it wasn't a good fit for the community.
Councilman Lonnie Lashley agreed saying the Town Manager indicated he had problems dealing with the festival. Lashley said, "You would have a hard time getting my vote to have this again."
Lashley said, "You can come before this committee again... with a new council you may get in but you'll never get my vote again."
Council member Sarah Friede said there may be factors outside of their control, but they have a direct impact on how the festival is perceived and how it carries on.