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Fort Reno Canceled for 2014
A change in National Park Service policy means no free shows in the Tenleytown park this summer. By Tanya Pai
Fans of Fort Reno’s free outdoor concerts—such as this one from 2010—will be disappointed this year. Photograph by Flickr user Dale Sundstrom.
Comments () | Published June 26, 2014

Here’s a bummer for music fans of all ages: The annual Fort Reno concert series in Tenleytown’s Fort Reno Park has been canceled. In a memo on the festival’s website titled Where’s the Schedule?, cofounder Amanda MacKaye writes, “Around the time that we should have received our finalized permit for this summer, the concert series was informed by National Park Service that U.S. Park Police was imposing a requirement that we pay for an officer to be posted on site at each concert.”

The new requirement, she says, would “literally double the VERY small budget of the concert series” and would limit the scale of the series, which in years past has included sets by local heavyweights such as Fugazi, Dismemberment Plan, and Ted Leo. 

MacKaye expresses frustration with the policy change, writing, “U.S. Park Police cited differing reasons as to why this had come up after all these years. The reasons felt vague and when asked for specifics, none were given.” We’ve reached out to both MacKaye and NPS and will update when we find out more. 

Read MacKaye’s full note below.

Where’s the Schedule?

Around the time that we should have received our finalized permit for this summer, the concert series was informed by National Park Service that U.S. Park Police was imposing a requirement that we pay for an officer to be posted on site at each concert. Inquiry with our ranger led to me placing a call to U.S. Park Police.

U.S. Park Police cited differing reasons as to why this had come up after all these years. The reasons felt vague and when asked for specifics, none were given.

I requested a sit down meeting with NPS and USPP with the hope that our long standing (very good) relationship with NPS coupled with people seeing that we are just folks having a small community related event would bring about a better understanding and resolution.

Two messages to schedule went unanswered and when I did reach someone, a meeting was scheduled for the next morning (yesterday). The meeting happened but none of the invitees attended except myself and one extremely kind NPS employee who works in the office where meetings are held but despite being familiar with the park and the concert series as being an annual event, knew nothing about why the permit was being stalled.

So as it stands today, not only does the concert series not have the funds to cover this cost at the last minute but we don’t feel we should have to do this without just cause. Our feeling is that if something had changed within the operations at NPS or USPP regarding public events since last summer, there was ample time to inform us. NPS has all of my contact information. And this is not a little cost as USPP seems to think. It will literally double the VERY small budget of the concert series. It will affect how many shows can happen because the money must be paid up front. I didn’t even bother to get into what happens if we are dark due to rain…

That all said, with the heaviest of hearts the decision is that the concert series will be dark for 2014 in an effort to resolve this for the future. I hope it goes without saying that this is not the outcome we expected and certainly don’t want.

With love, gratitude and sincerity,

Amanda

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Posted at 11:07 AM/ET, 06/26/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs