Harmony Park portrayal is offPublished 9:08am Thursday, July 4, 2013
I am writing today in regards to recent articles in the Tribune concerning safety and drug issues at Harmony Park. I am a 64-year-old retired businessman and my wife is a 66-year-old retired teacher. We have attended music festivals of all kinds and sizes throughout the U.S. Safety has always been a top priority for us at festivals, and we avoid festivals where drug usage is rampant
We have been attending festivals at Harmony Park since 2008. I can say without exaggeration that Harmony Park festivals are the safest and have the least amount of drug activity of any festivals we attend. That is directly related to the way the owner of Harmony Park works to keep it safe and because he is willing to make adjustments after each festival to make the next one better.
There have been several statements made in recent articles about the park that I believe are inaccurate and based on misconception.
1. It has been stated that Harmony Park is not safe for people to attend, and that deputies fear for their own safety when they are in the park. Last weekend, I took my grandchildren, ages 10 and 12, to the Project Earth festival. They had a splendid time, met some wonderful people and heard many great musicians. They also spent time at Kiddie Village, an area for kids of all ages. At no time did I fear for their safety. The private security officers were everywhere and kept a close eye on things as they should. There were also sheriff’s deputies present. It was great to see them there and to see them interacting freely with other attendees. Their presence made it feel like a community within a community, and they were greatly appreciated.
2. It was stated that bad weather held down drug activity at Project Earth. A month earlier at the festival with problems, the weather was far worse and the rain was almost nonstop. This argument just doesn’t hold water — if you will excuse the word play. Jay Sullivan has already made the decision to drop that particular event because of problems created by a few attendees and because the event was so poorly coordinated.
3. There was one drug-related arrest at Project Earth. Left unstated was the fact that it was Harmony Park security that made the initial contact, turning the individual over to deputies.
4. At no time did anyone hand me a flier, or tell me directly to do drugs in the parking lot in order to avoid arrest. That has never happened to me in five years of attendance. I have not communicated with one soul who had that message conveyed to them. In fact, there are signs posted everywhere — most notably on the gravel road before entering the park, and at the bar area of the venue itself where it is very visible — stating that drug use is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with in accordance with the law.