Organizers of MASSV, the music and arts festival that has brought laser-enhanced entertainment and spectacle to the valley for the past two summers, have canceled the 2014 event. All pre-purchased tickets will be automatically refunded with an offer of a 50 percent discount on pre-sale tickets for next year.
Organizer Brent Russell said the event—scheduled for July 25-26—was undone by “byzantine laws” that even public officials had trouble interpreting. As a result, MASSV volunteers simply ran out of time to make it a “first-class event,” he said.
“We met with the [county] commissioners in early November and got the green light to pursue an event in the county,” he said in an email interview Monday. “Five months later, we were still wrapped in red tape, so we decided to cancel. We are disappointed, but we hope to overcome these hurdles and bring this community event to our valley next year.”
The future will be brighter, Russell predicts, because organizers can anticipate obstacles and address them. Among the challenges is leasing a venue that can support loud music and bright lights late into the night.
Russell believes there should be support for the event for introducing the valley to a new generation, infusing outside dollars to the local economy ($2 million to date, he said), encouraging local creativity and sending a message to youth that they are valued.
“We hope to find visionary local leaders to help us find a permanent home.”
“First-time visitors became lifetime visitors,” he said. “Locals provided art, costumes, music and a welcoming vibe. I hope my son will return often after graduation instead of fleeing like a fugitive. There’s a bizarre mismatch in our valley: an abundance of entertainment for people my age (I’m gray-hair age) and older, but almost none for the younger generation.”
MASSV’s first incarnation was at the Simplot lot near the Ketchum Post Office. It was almost derailed by the death of one of the founders, but Russell, a doctor who moonlights for fun as a DJ, moved to the forefront.
Complaints of noise and an incident involving Blaine County Sheriff’s Deputy Corey Weatherly—who was working security when someone fell off a rooftop onto him causing career-altering permanent injuries—resulted in a retooling of the event the following year, when it moved to River Run. With noise there cited as a problem, the organizing group decided to try a move to a ranch south of Bellevue, but several concerns were brought forth.
“We are volunteers who want to bring something innovative to our community,” Russell said. “We can't do it alone. In some ways, we are victims of our success. We had no idea it would grow so rapidly, but the growth demonstrates a void. Our area is hungry for events like MASSV. We hope to find visionary local leaders to help us find a permanent home.”