Two weeks out, Euphoria music festival still lacks county permit


The Finding Euphoria music festival is coming up May 11, but it still doesn’t have a permit from Travis County.

The electronic music festival had its permit three months in advance last year.

Organizers are asking to play music until 2 a.m. May 12, something that’s drawn community complaints in past.

2 p.m. Wednesday update: A Finding Euphoria spokeswoman said Wednesday that the management team is committed to making sure the show goes on.

“We’re working to provide all the necessary documentation for a safe event, and we look forward to collaborating with County staff to make all appropriate adjustments based on their guidance,” Erin Suddleson said. “Finding Euphoria is grateful to the Austin and Travis County communities that have made this festival and events over the years possible.”

Travis County spokesman Hector Nieto said the item will appear before the Commissioners Court again on Tuesday.

Earlier: Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty on Tuesday took a stern tone with the organizer of the Finding Euphoria music festival, which is coming up in two weeks but still does not have a permit from the county.

“Listen man, there’s a real clear road map as to how to get here on this deal,” Daugherty said. “So if this is your deal, get it done.”

County staff members said Tuesday that they are still missing necessary paperwork from organizers, who have been slow to respond to communications, and, because of that, they weren’t ready to make a recommendation to commissioners on whether to approve a mass gathering permit for the event.

The electronic music festival, which debuted four years ago and is set to take place from May 11-13, is downsizing this year, producer Stuart Sharpe said Tuesday.

RELATED: Gramatik, Hippie Sabotage, G Jones lead lineup for scaled-back Finding Euphoria Fest

In the past, the event has drawn about 20,000 people and functioned as a three-day festival, but this year, Sharpe said it will be one day of music with two days of camping attended by about 5,000 people maximum.

The festival’s website describes it as an “intentional scaling back of our programming, offering a more intimate festival to our fans.” Also part of the reboot, Sharpe said, is a plan to hold events throughout the year, such as yoga sessions, cookouts and speaker and panel events.

Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway said staffers received the event application March 27, but it was missing information that the county needed.

Callaway said staffers began receiving the documents they needed April 19, and are still reviewing them. Callaway said he has concerns about organizers’ security and traffic control plans.

READ LAST YEAR’S COVERAGE: EDM Jesus and 5 other things we saw at Euphoria Fest

Asked by Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt whether staff will have enough time before the festival in two weeks to make a recommendation, Callaway said, “Anything’s possible.”

“They’ve definitely shown a good-faith effort in starting to put together realistic plans, but there’s many voids in there,” Callaway said. “We can comment back, but if we don’t receive responses to our communications in a timely manner, then obviously we can’t control being able to meet that timeline.”

The issue of noise after dark has yet to be worked out, and has been a sore spot for neighbors around the festival’s location at Carson Creek Ranch, 9507 Sherman Road.

The noise complaints, which at one time sparked a legal battle, drew little debate last year after commissioners easily passed a variance allowing the festival to stay open until 2 a.m. on weekends, one hour later than current regulations allow.

READ ALSO: With little fuss, Travis OKs later curfew for Euphoria Music Festival

Organizers are requesting that allowance only for Saturday night this year, but some commissioners indicated they might not be as quick to approve it this year, with Daugherty saying it’d be “a problem for me” unless neighbors sign off.

“The full court is very supportive of our festival economy … but we do have some baseline criteria that we need to make sure that we’re good with so we don’t end up with some serious problems,” Eckhardt said.

Sharpe told commissioners that organizers have a contingency plan in place but said he was hopeful that organizers could settle the permit issue in time.

“I think it’s a matter of us determining what was void,” he said. “We’re 100 percent willing to come down and comply and obviously appreciate the support.”

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