The review of Rockfest that Aberdeen police chief Don Lanpher Jr. gave the Aberdeen City Council on Monday was not a positive one.
Four police officers and two reserve officers were on hand for the rock concert, which took place Friday night at Central Park. Two of the officers, both sergeants, reported to Lanpher on Monday that the concert was “not a good event,” Lanpher said.
Lanpher told the council that the bands dropped theF-bombseveral times. Kids as young as 3 were present for the vulgar language, he said. In addition, underage drinking was a problem and at least one fight broke out.
In an interview after the meeting, Lanpher said at least 12 people were cited for underage possession and consumption. Individuals younger than 21 were seen picking up discarded wrist bands to purchase beer, he said. A man had his nose broken in the fight and was taken to Avera St. Luke's, Lanpher said. In addition, a window was broken.
The all-ages concert was presented by Hub City Radio and Pepper Entertainment of Sioux Falls.
In a phone interview Monday night, Hub City Radio general manager Brian Lundquist said he was at the radio station all day Monday and didn't receive one negative phone call about Rockfest.
“We did have positive calls from lots of people. They can't wait for Rockfest 2,” Lundquist said.
He said that almost 3,800 people attended the show. More than 1,000 of those people came from out of town, Lundquist said.
In addition to the police officers present, concert organizers hired 15 or 16 private security people — more than the city required, Lundquist said. Organizers “did everything by the book,” he said.
He thinks any problems occurred after Rockfest, rather than during the concert.
“We don't condone any underage drinking whatsoever,” Lundquist said. “If they are caught underage drinking, they should be prosecuted. I have no problems with that.”
Hub City Radio is anxious to hear suggestions about ways to improve Rockfest, he said.
After the meeting, Lanpher said that if the same company or bands are involved in a future event, he will recommend that city permission not be granted.
Lanpher said he received no complaints about Music on Main, the music event that was held downtown Saturday.
Earlier in the meeting, the council was approached by Jason Hepola, who organized Music on Main.
Continuing a discussion from an earlier meeting, Hepola asked the council if any progress is being made in changes to the city's liquor ordinance. He talked about the state requirement that nonprofit organizations obtain special one-day liquor licenses for events in public. He also talked about the inability to consume beer in public at events such as Music on Main.
City attorney Adam Altman told him that changes are coming in the city's liquor laws.
Later in the meeting, the council approved a community event permit and a one-day retail on-sale liquor license for an outdoor mixed martial arts event to be presented Saturday night in the location of the old Pirates Cove. Jason Ehresmann of South Dakota Total Combat told the council that a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Wounded Warrior project. In addition, raffles will be conducted for the benefit of a 4-year-old Aberdeen girl. For the event, organizers are using the liquor license from the original Maverick’s Steak and Cocktails.
After the permission was granted for the liquor license, councilman Jeff Mitchell asked what the difference was between the mixed martial arts event and Music on Main, where beer could not be served. Fellow council members told him that the mixed martial arts activity is being held on private property.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a grant application for playground equipment at Central Park. The Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is seeking a Land and Water Conservation grant through South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. If the grant is obtained, the playground equipment will be located in the park's northwest corner.
Mayor Mike Levsen said that during the July 23 meeting, council members will have the opportunity to adjust allotments from the city's promotion fund. A list of proposed allotments, compiled from council members' individual suggestions, will be brought to the meeting. The allocations must total no more than $950,000, Levsen said.
In addition, city manager Lynn Lander announced that Shirley Schwab of A Voice for Children and Families will appear before the council at the July 23 meeting to discuss funding.