A report on the Mudfest aftermath from today's Star:
By SARA SHEPHERD
The Kansas City Star
Rain. Heavy equipment and stages. More rain. Roughly 55,000 trampling feet and sliding bodies. More rain. That combination at this year’s Rockfest left acres of Penn Valley Park and the Liberty Memorial grounds a royal mess.
AEG Live, the promoter of Saturday’s concert, is under contract to pay for any damages. That’s nothing new, city officials said, though the damage from this year’s concert was far worse than usual.
Aggie Stackhaus, a member of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners, said she thought the damage was so heinous that Rockfest shouldn’t be allowed back in the park.
“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. They have decimated and desecrated,” a furious Stackhaus said Monday after surveying the massive mud slicks.
The brunt of damage was in Penn Valley Park, where more than 14 acres of land need repairs.
Crowds of concert-goers — many of whom turned hills into natural Slip ’N Slides — left swaths of the park without a visible blade of grass. Machinery that hauled equipment in and out of the park gouged ruts in the soil.
If the weather cooperates, crews could start work Wednesday and finish by May 28, said Heidi Downer, a spokeswoman for the Parks and Recreation Department. Tasks will include grading or filling the ruts, then reseeding or laying sod to replace grass.
In the meantime, the National World War I Museum in the Liberty Memorial reopened Sunday. Officials hope the grass will improve by Memorial Day, when a public commemoration is scheduled on the grounds.
Joe Litvag, a senior vice president for AEG Live, said the work would be costly, but the company will follow through on its promise as quickly and effectively as possible.
“We feel like it’s a privilege to hold this event here, not a right,” he said.
Anticipating rain, the concert’s planners took precautionary measures that did help, if only a little, Litvag said. Those measures included choosing a parking route that would be least harmful to grass and bringing in 400 to 500 bales of straw to soak up moisture.
Besides paying for damages, AEG Live Productions paid the city $50,000 and the memorial $50,000 to use the grounds for Rockfest.
Stackhaus said she understood such events bring in money and visibility for the park, but this wasn’t the kind she wanted.
“If people are going to come and use our park system, they’ve got to act like they have some manners,” Stackhaus said. “And if they don’t have manners, then they need to go somewhere else.”