String Cheese will not return next year

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— The majority of City Council members said they were looking for a different type of crowd than the one the String Cheese Incident brought in for this year's Fourth of July.

Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner said the results from the 2002 Community Survey showed the city wanted smaller-scale events with a different flavor. She suggested a jazz fest or West Fest, something that would speak to Steamboat's Western heritage.

Councilman Steve Ivancie mentioned a music event like the Vail's jazz festival or bringing in bluegrass music.

Council President Kathy Connell talked about Telluride's successful music experience and the town's decision to not bring back String Cheese.

Councilman Bud Romberg said he would like to see a group that was more respectful of the community and brought in more sale tax revenue.

"The problem that I have has to do with the impact of that group in particular," Councilman Bud Romberg said. "From the information that I gathered, this was a large group with a relative small impact sales-wise."

John Waldman, whose company, Great Knight Productions, Inc. brought the Independence Incident to Steamboat for two years, said even though this year's concert was not a financial success, it brought 11,000 people to town and produced $9,000 in sales tax from the concession and camping venues alone.

Waldman said the higher-end hotels might have seen little business from String Cheese concertgoers, but other businesses like Market on the Mountain, bagel shops and lodging along U.S. 40 did see the business.

"There was some good to it," Waldman said of the two-day music event that brought in other acts like Earl Scruggs and James Brown.

But Connell said she would like to see a big music festival that engaged more of the community something she said String Cheese did not do.

Councilman Paul Strong was the only council member to say he would like to see String Cheese come back.

Unlike Connell, he said other cultural events like Strings in the Mountain did not engage many people in his social group.

He also said the Independence Incident provided diversity in the community, something Steamboat is lacking.

"We do provide a lot of culture and activities for the older and more well-to-do demographic. But we do not provide a lot of culture for our younger and less-affluent demographic. String Cheese is a part of that culture," Strong said.

Waldman said String Cheese would not be back next year when the Fourth of July falls on the weekend. But he said he is still uncertain if the group will ever come back.

Waldman said the city is going to have to decide if it wants back mainstream groups like Dave Matthews, Train, Sheryl Crow or more alternative bands like String Cheese or Widespread Panic.

"You grant the permits, so you become the social policy," Waldman said.

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