Alex Pelton and Lex De Azevedo II take over Zion Canyon Music Festival
Photo courtesy of Zion Canyon Music Festival

The town of Springdale voted Wednesday to turn ownership of the Zion Canyon Music Festival over to two people closely involved with the project in prior years. The council voted unanimously to hand the production of the popular Springdale music festival over to Alex Pelton and Lex De Azevedo II, who will form an organization that will run the event instead of the town. This change took effect immediately and was the result of a proposal by Pelton and De Azevedo to form an LLC to produce the festival, which has taken place in Springdale every September for the past eight years.

Pelton and De Azevedo’s concerns included investing so much personal time without financial compensation and an ongoing uncertainty every year that the town would continue to produce the festival. Their proposal includes two very different possible solutions.

Mayor Stan Smith took issue with the scenario that the town keep producing the festival and that Pelton and De Azevedo be paid because so many other unpaid people were also involved.

Instead, the town agreed to allow the yet-to-be-created organization to completely take over the festival and use the Zion Canyon Music Festival name “on loan for this year” with the caveat that continued use be reviewed after this year’s festival. While there seemed to be no interest from the council for the town to take the festival back over, the concern was that the name had value and that they did not want Pelton and De Azevedo to be able to sell it if for some reason they were unable to keep producing the festival.

Councilmen Adrian Player and Mark Chambers expressed that they had both suggested the festival change hands from the town to a private organization as early as 2014 but that there seemed to be very little interest from anyone in forming such an organization at that time.

“I want the event to succeed, and that’s always been my goal,” Chambers said at the Wednesday meeting. “I took a lot of personal hit from the community, a lot of hostility from the community over my decision to try to move the festival along. So we’re here now and I hope the festival succeeds, whether they are staff or volunteer. I wish you all the luck in the world.”

Councilman Mike Alltucker went through a list of expenses that would pass along to the new entity, as would the revenues generated. Those would include costs of the stage, grounds, security, sound system, accounting, performer fees, insurance, setup, etc. Mayor Smith said that new entity would still be required to apply for permits and to follow all the town’s rules in order to produce the festival.

“Are you ready to take it on?” Mayor Smith Asked De Azevedo, who simply responded, “Yes.”

The Independent has been a sponsor of the music festival for many years and was contacted by Pelton prior to the meeting to request continued support of the festival were it to move from the town’s ownership.

The Independent plans to continue to sponsor the festival under the new arrangement.

No comments from the public were taken. Audio of the portion of the council meeting can be found here.

The proposal in its entirety is below:

To the Town Council of Springdale,

My name is Alex Pelton. I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and Lex De Azevedo II. The purpose of this letter  is to present a proposal to the town council regarding the Zion Canyon Music Festival. Prior to presenting the proposal, I feel I need to explain some of the events leading up to the proposal.  Two weeks ago the music festival committee gathered for the first meeting of 2017 to discuss the upcoming year’s event. For some time prior to that meeting I had been weighing out options for my future with the festival and the general future and sustainability of the event. I had a meeting with Lex and expressed some of my concerns to him about the current structure of the event and the challenges with our relationship with the town and the unsettling feeling about never knowing where the future of the event stands. We also discussed the desire to be compensated for all of the hours, knowledge and experience we put into the event. Both issues, seemed to us, valid points. We spoke for a few hours and came up with some ideas which we felt would ensure the future of the festival and would honor the mission of the festival  in regard to keeping it a community event with sustainability and education as a major emphasis. We presented our ideas to the committee and the ideas were met with mixed reviews. We expected to have a challenging conversation, with the thought that we would reconvene in two weeks and discuss our thoughts. Some members of the committee felt we should go directly to the council with our proposal. Because of the accelerated timeframe for the presentation, we are still compiling information pertinent to the  issues associated with the proposal. Therefor, I will present you with what I have prepared.

The first aspect of the proposal covers an idea which the council first suggested two years ago. Lex and I would like to propose the idea of creating an LLC and transitioning the festival from a town event to one which would be privately managed by our newly formed entity. We would like to propose running the festival this year as it is currently being run, with the transition taking place upon the completion of the 2017 festival. We are well aware of the town council’s past concerns with liability, staff hours and financial responsibilities, and this transition would  relieve the town of all these concerns. It is also a concern of ours that the festival will not be guaranteed in future years under the current situation due to changes in the perceptions and personnel on the town council and concerns about future conflicts of usage for the ball field. It would be our priority to maintain the goals of the festival and continue growing on the hard work and ideals which were created by the committee since the festivals inception. We would stress the community aspects of the event and have been thinking of ways to make the event free on Friday for those with a local address or pay stub. I have been asked by a committee member about the possibility of a transition prior to the upcoming 2017 event, and we feel it is a possibility, but we have not had adequate time to research all the steps necessary for a viable transition. We would be willing to answer that question in a months time. As part of this process we will need to look at all possible locations for the festival and determine what venue would offer the most cost effective options, as well as the least liability for all parties involved. If the council decides that this transition is the best option for the town, we would only ask for a few provisions. We would require a guarantee that the council will grant our request for a single event permit and local consent, provided we cover all the necessary regulations mandated by the town and the DABC. Secondly, we would ask for a formal transfer of the name and all promotional rights associated with the Zion Canyon Music Festival to our LLC.

If the council feels that the success and future of the festival is best left in the hands of the town council and staff, then we would like to discuss the issue of compensation for myself and Lex. I have, as you all know, been involved with the Zion Canyon Music Festival since its inception. It is an event which I am very proud of being involved with and I am confident  that my experience and work has been instrumental to the success of the event. Lex has been involved for several years now and has been an integral part of the team since his arrival. Lex has years of experience working in graphic design, website design and maintenance, and live events. His skills and connections in his field have not only been a major asset to the festival, they have actually saved the town a significant amount of money. Lex has designed the past two posters and a new logo for the festival with no compensation. It is because of this that we propose that we each receive a payment of $1000 to compensate us for our time, experience and knowledge. With this compensation, Lex would be able to spend more time managing the website, which would remove Rick’s responsibilities with this aspect of the festival. This would save the town some staff hours in the process. On this topic, we have the support of a majority of the committee. We propose an increase in the admission price from $5 to $10 for adults, and a $5 charge for those between 8 and 21 years, to offset these costs as well as other increases to the budget that occur yearly due to inflation and other forces outside our control. Conservative estimates would suggest an increase in festival revenue of at least $10,000. which would result in a profit for the town.

Finally, I would like to state that our intentions with this proposal are to ensure a successful and lasting future for the Zion Canyon Music Festival. I have presented the idea to several members of the community and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. If we were not passionate about this event and the amazing community of Zion Canyon, we would not be willing to take the risks associated with a transfer of this event to our LLC. We will continue to honor the Town of Springdale and all those citizens and staff members who have worked so hard to create this incredible event.

Sincerely yours,

Alex Pelton

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