Mysteryland 2015 - Corporate Netherlands Meets Deliverance

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.

Funny how few people have the guts to stand up and say, “The Emperor is Nekkid.” I learned firsthand to do so means you will be publicly excoriated. Case in point:

Last year, Mysteryland, during their first festival in the U.S. in my small town, retained local food vendors to feed 8,000 campers and 20,000 participants to fulfill their initial promise to support our local community. This was done in lieu of paying any portion of their proceeds, not even .0001% to the town that hosted their 4-day festival. A wise business decision on their part: keep the jerks lulled into a false dream of prosperity while Mysteryland rakes in the dough.

Sullivan County New York is the poorest county in New York State. This includes my town. The town board claims to welcome any form of revenue. Well, almost any. They have yet to ask Bethel Woods up the street to pay a penny of their proceeds from their concerts (and don’t give me their Charitable Organization status line). To ask a company from the Netherlands that made millions of dollars in four days using Bethel Woods' property to pay a small percentage to cover any inconvenience to the town’s residents ( e.g., noise pollution, traffic, trash, EMTs for drug overdoses, local constables) in the form of a sales tax to benefit the town, well, that just isn’t in the cards.

Yet, those same town board people want a percentage of sales tax from the new casino in nearby Monticello.

Yes, another WHAT THE FUCK moment!

Last year, my friend was chosen as a local food vendor. She hired 25 local people to assist in cooking at the festival in two locations. They had a blast although all the other food vendors (except for her) were closed down for hours due to health code violations. Blind eyes were cast towards real dangers like propane tanks placed helter-skelter and 0 fire extinguishers (remedied by my friend and her husband) and the fact that other food vendors had no running water, no hot water and no place to wash their dishes.

YUCK! You don’t even want to imagine how filthy those other vendors were on Day #4!

There were tons of other issues, but hey, local food vendors were making money!

Or they thought they were.

The problem is that Ovations, the company that manages the food vendors, has some scheme going on as follows:

Vendors couldn’t accept cash because there WASN’T ANY CASH! Ovations gave each vendor a computer where people swiped their wrist bracelets in exchange for food.

That’s like letting the fox in the hens’ cage because, according to Ovations, the computer makes no mistakes.

I call that Bullshit.

The computer went down for 9 hours (their claim), the computer didn’t register half the sales (the vendors’ claim), the power went down.

Then Ovations said my friend only made a negligible amount. Because “The Computer Doesn’t Lie.”

I call that Bullshit.

My friend didn’t get paid until 11 1/2 months later, just this week, although the contract Ovations made her sign five minutes before the booth opened stated payment in 14 days. But that was back in May 2014. The payment was a settlement indicating that Ovations agreed they didn’t pay her the correct amount. The settlement was still a pittance, but she’s a small business owner in an impoverished county and Ovations, well, we know what ganiffs they are.

Incidentally, Mysteryland gets a percentage of those sales from Ovations. So, it goes to show - like a god, Mysteryland giveth and taketh away.

This year, Mysteryland refuses to use local food vendors despite claiming support for local vendors. We can blame my friend for fighting for her money. Incensed, three vendors who thought this was their ka-ching opportunity complained to our mayor and he, in turn, phoned his contact at Mysteryland and got them in.

But not my friend. She was tagged as “trouble” because she had the nerve to demand payment for the work she did. Again, Mysteryland giveth and taketh away - dispensing with those who object.

This year, Mysteryland’s new company to oversee vendors, Best Beverage, made the upfront non-refundable costs so punitive to ensure that no small business can afford this unless they wipe out their savings in the hope of recouping their losses: $2,000 for just enrolling, $500 booth fee and thousands of dollars for electric, gas, signage, etc. And, Mysteryland gets 42% of all proceeds.

Does that sound like support of local small business food vendors in an impoverished area?

Wait one moment - that’s not even my complaint! 

My complaint stems from the fact that I live three miles away from the venue (PS: my family was here since 1902). Last year they were so frigging loud it hurt my ears, rattled my windows and floor and each thump of the bass echoed deep in my chest. Last year I tolerated the sound and suffered because local residents made some money. Or we thought they did.

This year, they’re going to have over 30,000 people. There’s no money in it for the local residents nor for the town and other local businesses. Yet -

Mysteryland stands to make between $9 to $15 million in four days. 

My town will provide EMTs for drug overdoses, local constables for traffic jams and variances so they can blast the shit outta us at the round the clock 4-day concerts at no cost to Mysteryland, just the local taxpayers.

PS: No discounts on tickets or freebees to local residents!

Does this make any sense?

I stood up the Town Hall and voiced my concern including my typical humor:

The River Reporter:

"Maura Stone, a writer who lives near Bethel Woods, said she has hyperacusis—sensitivity to sound—“and I had to drug myself last year.” She wanted to know what the decibel levels of the sound from the stage would be."

First off, nobody got my sense of humor. Secondly, the pushback from this community was stupefying. I got a public whipping online for having the audacity to request sensible decibel levels!

I was told to move, get ear plugs, called names, even my books were insulted!!! Strangely, residents don’t want Mysteryland to financially contribute to the town!

Next week, I’m going in front of Town Hall to recommend that each resident fork over money to Mysteryland because we’re getting free music. Isn’t that what the people want?

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1 comment:

maura stone said...

My friend from high school, Peter Larsen, has a good suggestion:

This noise could cause real damage to people's houses; it may not knock them down right away. But, what if six months later one or two fall down or become unsafe to live in, will they [Mysteryland] pay?

You should mention to your insurance co. that really, really, really loud noises are coming to town and you just want to make sure it was covered and covered well enough to have engineers come check your house after to make sure it’s safe to live in...

Thank you, Peter!