New Castle residents battle return of Realm music fest |

New Castle residents battle return of Realm music fest

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Stewart Oksenhorn Aspen Times Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Some New Castle residents are fighting the proposed fourth year of a music festival they say creates too much trash and noise, and may lead to drunken driving on a winding county road, among other problems.

Garfield County commissioners heard complaints Monday from several area residents and a presentation by the festival promoter before voting unanimously to deny an application for a special events liquor permit for the event.

Chris Davis, of Edwards, applied for the permit for the Realm of Music Festival for July 4-6. This year would have been the event’s fourth running at the Klein Ranch on County Road 241 near New Castle. Davis operates the Realm of Caring Inc., which he describes as a growing nonprofit. Davis said the event is meant to help Beverly Klein keep her ranch, to provide the community with music and art, to raise money for music and arts in public schools, and to generate revenue for Garfield County.

The event attracted some 450 people last year and Davis said he hopes to draw up to 1,000 in the future to make the festival a money maker.

But about 48 New Castle residents signed a petition opposing the event, saying the Realm of Caring “claims to be a philanthropic institution” but has not donated any of its past proceeds to any public schools. They also said unlawful activity, noise, traffic, dust and trash are detrimental to the neighborhood and could pose a public safety risk.

Matthew Vanhoose said the music “doesn’t quit until four or five o’clock in the morning and it is very loud.” He said people were passed out drunk on his lawn and he was “held hostage” for three days during the event last year, unable to leave because he had to stay at home to protect his property. He and others who spoke to commissioners Monday in Glenwood Springs said they worry about drunken drivers on the winding, narrow road with hidden drives and blind corners, that serves the Klein Ranch.

“No matter what the intentions of this man is and the Realm festival, to have somebody killed on this narrow winding road alleviates all the good they’re trying to do,” Vanhoose said.

“It’s really a drinking event. It’s under this guise of music,” added Don Marshall.

Rosie Ferrin, another area resident, said she’s heard many complaints of people “out of control” at the festivals, including a rumor about an intoxicated individual jumping off a barbed wire fence getting “castrated.”

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office received a report last year of an intoxicated male trying to fight security. The call, which came in at about 2 a.m., requested an ambulance for a “possible overdose” and a man was reportedly found with a four-inch laceration to his groin.

Around midday during the festival last year, someone reported a man near the Elk Creek Campground bleeding from his eye and arm and wandering into the woods. He reportedly crashed his truck. Alcohol was thought to have been a factor.

Davis said those were the only two incidents relating to the festival in three years and “it was just two bad apples.” He said a private security contractor let him down last year but he was planning on increasing security and hiring a better company this year that comes with the recommendation of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Paul Parsons said he attended the Realm festival last year and “it was a very well run, very family-oriented, peaceful event.”

“When I heard that it was being challenged as far as a return this year, I felt I needed to speak up as a business owner and a resident of the county,” he said. “There aren’t many opportunities in the area for this kind of event. It’s really an amazing, unique kind of event partly because of the location it’s held in. It’s a beautiful piece of ranch property.”

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