Council to SnowGlobe: Time to find new event site |

Council to SnowGlobe: Time to find new event site

by Ryan Hoffman

South Lake Tahoe City Council on June 18 approved a contract that could keep SnowGlobe in the city for the next five years if the music festival can identify a new site after the first two years.

The added provision requiring identification of an alternative site after the second year was one of two changes made to a contract that SnowGlobe was prepared to agree to before the changes were made.

The second change deals with the timeline concerning the temporary activity permit. While the agreement serves as the overarching document establishing guidelines for the festival’s continued operations, SnowGlobe must obtain a temporary activity permit from the city each year.

That permit can include additional stipulations not included in the agreement. The change extends the city’s deadline for notifying SnowGlobe of new changes to the permit from Jan. 31 each year to March 31.

While the revisions represented compromise for a City Council seeking to balance the concerns of nearby residents with members of the business community, they presented uncertainty for SnowGlobe.

Producers of the three-day electronic music festival, which is staged at Lake Tahoe Community College, had hoped to leave the meeting with the agreement originally presented to council.

Among other provisions, the agreement as originally presented removed the city’s financial contributions to the event and require SnowGlobe to adhere to existing noise regulations set under the Bijou/Al Tahoe Area Plan, as the Tribune previously reported.

Those regulations, as currently written, would require the festival to shutdown at 10 p.m. each night if it operated at its past sound levels. However, SnowGlobe founder Chad Donnelly told council Tuesday that his sound engineer is confident he can make the situation work so that SnowGlobe would be able to operate later on New Year’s Eve.

Several members of council expressed concern over the thought of ending the event early on New Year’s Eve and having a hoard of people move toward the Stateline area.

When SnowGlobe originally arrived in South Lake Tahoe, it was pitched as a method for diverting some of the massive crowds in Stateline — which historically caused significant public safety issues — away from the area.

Donnelly told council SnowGlobe would not be pursuing a contract if they didn’t think they could continue New Year’s Eve operation to midnight, seemingly giving assurance that his sound engineer can find a solution.

While SnowGlobe had agreed to all those provisions and more, it was not prepared for the added stipulation requiring the festival to identify a new site after two years.

Donnelly said he could not agree to the new contract on his own — he would need to consult with Viacom, the major media corporation that acquired SnowGlobe in 2018.

Following council’s meeting Donnelly declined to comment to the Tribune, stating he needed time to gather his thoughts. He did not answer several phone calls from the Tribune in the days after the meeting.

City Manager Frank Rush told the Tribune last Thursday that the city sent a revised contract to SnowGlobe on June 19.

If SnowGlobe does not agree to the contract, the city and festival will have to resume negotiations. Donnelly told council during its meeting that if a contract were pushed off a month it could seriously jeopardize the festival this year.

“If it does get punted down the road another two or four weeks, we are very much in danger of not being able to do it this year,” he said.