There might be a new music festival in the San Fernando Valley this fall, but it's got a lot of hurdles to jump before it gets the final approvals it needs. The "three-day music festival to rival Coachella," proposed for the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area in Lake Balboa, could bring in up to 65,000 attendees a day, but conservation groups and birders are hoping to stop the festival before it starts, says the Daily News.
AngelFest is touted as a family-friendly festival with music, food, and cultural elements. The project has been given the ok by the Department of Recreation and Parks, but is still awaiting approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the rec area. The festival would have five stages set up between between Woodley Avenue and the 405 Freeway, just north of the park's dedicated wildlife preserve.
If all goes according to festival organizers' plans, AngelFest would run from October 7 through 9 this year, and recur through fall 2018. The event would feature music from the 1950s to the present, with possible fireworks and pyrotechnics. (Sorry, kids: No electronic music or hip-hop is in the line-up.)
But some are worried about the adverse affects of a noisy festival on the wildlife that flocks to the area. "It’s absolutely inappropriate, adjacent to the Wildlife Reserve, without a buffer to sensitive habitat," Muriel Kotin of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society tells the Daily News.
Those who oppose AngelFest say that with setup and teardown of the event space, the area would be disrupted for about 26 days. Add that to the increased foot traffic from the festival, which would number in the tens of thousands each day, and they're worried that the impact could have lasting effects on wildlife that use the area and its preserve.
Advocates for wildlife also worry that the festival would make the area uninviting for animals at an important time, citing the approximately 50 white pelicans that show up in the basin to breed in the fall. The SFV Audubon's online petition gathered 3,000 signatures in opposition to the festival last week.
Lake Balboa and the playground there would be open during the festival, but the picnic areas, tea garden, wildlife reserve, and archery area would be "off limits." But there is the possibility that once those areas reopen, they'll be better than ever: The three-day event would mean a windfall for the parks department, which would receive a user fee from the group organizing the event ($250,000) and a portion of ticket sales revenue.
"Given that between 40,000 and 65,000 people a day could attend the festival in its first year, that could mean between $300,000 to $400,000," supporters of the festival say—money that could go toward a dog park and improvements like fixing broken fences or adding lights to the bike path. And that's just from one year; this festival could go on for three.