Liquor license for free concert falls through

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— The Free Summer Concert Series opened Wednesday night without one of its staples: beer.

Because of a clerical error by concert series staff, the concert headlined by The Wailers did not receive state approval for a special event permit to sell beer. Series promoter John Waldman said he doesn't know exactly how the mistake occurred but stressed that it was not intentional and that beer will be available at all future events.

"There was a human error on one of the staff's part," Waldman said. "That's unfortunate, but it's just one of those things. What are you going to do?

"We apologize for the people who will be attending and our sponsors."

The mishap will put a financial burden on the series; beer sales at the shows are a major source of revenue for the free concerts. Nancy Kramer, the series' executive administrator, said as much as $20,000 worth of beer is sold at a typical Free Summer Concert Series event. Kramer would not say how much it cost to bring The Wailers to Steamboat, but she said the average concert usually costs about $35,000 to put on.

"It's a real unfortunate situation," Kramer said. "I don't know what the result will be."

Kramer said the series' board of directors would discuss with the city ways to make up for the lost revenue.

"They're a real partner," Kramer said of the city. "We're going to talk about it and work it out. Otherwise we're going to be chasing around a whole lot of money."

Concert series organizers were informed by the state through the city yesterday that their special event permit would not be approved because of the wrong date being put on permit application forms.

"The permit was approved," said Dan Hartman, acting director of the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division. "It was just that the applicant put the wrong date on the application."

The special event permit requires a 10-day notice period prior to the event to allow anyone to voice concerns. In this case, the mistake wasn't discovered in enough time to allow for 10 days of notice to the community.

"There has to be some public notice and other things required by statute," Waldman said. "There's just no way to get around that 10-day requirement."

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com.

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