Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 1.43.26 PMIt looks like Brewgrass, one of Asheville’s most popular annual beer festivals, will be looking for a new home next year. The event, which has bounced around a bit over the years, has been held at MLK Park near downtown the past several years. Residents who live close to the park have never really been happy with the September festival being held there. They came to Asheville City Council last week to once again lodge their complaints. Mountain Xpress reporter David Forbes tweeted the following from the meeting:

Renee White, East End Neighborhood Association: had major issues w Brewfest, issues w drunks, other probs. #avlgov

White: though we made it clear didn’t want them back in MLK park, thought Council supported us. Went forward anyway #avlgov

White: Brewfest supposedly community event, but neighborhood bearing brunt doesn’t want it. Talked w organizers, want alt location. #avlgov

Clarification: Brewgrass, White was calling it Brewfest. #avlgov

Mayor Terry Bellamy supports moving festival. Pelly makes motion. Brewgrass rep wants to move in 2014 #avlgov

Bellamy concerned about moving it to stadium, wants fest organizers to talk w staff. Feels need def resolution #avlgov

Smith supports moving Brewgrass, but to make sure it’s somewhere walkable. Brewgrass orgs looking for assurances can move to stadium #avlgov

City mgr Gary Jackson: last event of this size at MLK park. Support moving Brewgrass away. #avlgov

Council mem Jan Davis concerned about boxing Brewgrass in w/out set alt location. So’s vice mayor Esther Manheimer. #avlgov

Manheimer is disagreeing with Bellamy, not on moving Brewgrass away from MLK, but on process, closing off stadium as next location #avlgov

City Attorney Martha Walker McGlohon warning about singling out particular festival, poss equal protection concerns #avlgov

Council mem Cecil Bothwell: should we just not have festivals w alcohol at MLK? Jackson: concern more size than alcohol. #avlgov

Jackson suggests having staff look into restrictions on what type of events will happen at MLK. Council delays vote ’til Aug. 13 #avlgov

Stay tuned.

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9 Comments

  1. The letter sent along with the Brewgrass tickets asks attendees to not park in local neighborhood. There will be a shuttle(s) going to downtown parking decks.

  2. Hasil Adkins says:

    Glad to hear this, it was always a terrible venue for the event.

    Why not go ahead and have it at Pack Square, like Beer City USA? It used to be in that same area 10 years ago, and it’s a far superior venue, and as much money the city spent on that place you’d think they’d do more with it. Anything’s better than having it an another ballpark somewhere.

    • The City is “reluctant” to have events in the Park … even though the Park was supposedly designed as a gathering space for such activities …

      frequently citing concerns about the grass been killed … they also do not want to block the area behind the stage and in front of the municipal buildings for fears of an emergency …

      another issue that prompted the move to MLK was how to keep folks with no ticket out of the area … fencing etc.

      • Hasil Adkins says:

        Beer City USA sells nearly as many tickets as Brewgrass, and there hasn’t been major issues with ticketing/fencing for that event.

        It’s weird because both events are organized by the same group of individuals. Seems like an obvious choice, minus the parking problem.

  3. More NIMBY, but because of this neighborhood, they’ll get their way.

  4. Mary Fierle says:

    How about having Brewgrass down in the South Slope area? Close off the street along Buxton, I think it would work!

  5. Somewhere with some shade would be nice.

  6. This problem was brought to the attention of City Council a year ago. It is unbelievable that no one on Council or the Mayor took any effort to solve this problem. In practical terms, the East-End Neighborhood is essentially the host, and Brewgrass is the guest. A guest that brings 3,500 people to a park with 26 parking spaces, a softball field and few toilets. MLK Jr. Park is 3.3 acres. Hmmmm…

    Weaver Park in North Asheville, is 6.5 acres. It too has a regulation sized softball field, and a basketball court, and 7 picnic tables under a covered shelter. It has 39 parking spots and is connected to the Glenn’s Creek Greenway. It is close to public transportation, the business corridors of Merrimon Avenue (AKA Highway 25) and Charlotte Street. It is a stone’s throw from one of the first local brewers in town, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. It also seems to be that the target market in the craft beer scene more closely resembles the demographic composition of North Asheville than that of the East-End Neighborhood.

    Obviously the city has no problem renting out its parks for 3,500 person beer parties. Why wasn’t Weaver Park considered and if it was, what disqualified this park as being a reasonable place to have this event? Why wasn’t this problem addressed in the last year? Seems like some people have spent a little too much time flag waving at Moral Monday only to follow up with Two-faced Tuesday. Poor form Council. Get it together.

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