MAT-SU—An Alaska Superior Court judge granted the Matanuska-Susitna Borough relief Monday by ordering the promoter of the Trapper Creek Bluegrass festival, Justin Boot Rousseau, to follow the rules on mass outdoor gatherings.
Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen granted a preliminary injunction for the Borough. If attendance at the festival surpasses 500 people this year, the Borough, with its court order, could ask Alaska State Troopers to direct people away or otherwise assist in enforcing the order.
“This is in direct response to citizen complaints,” said Borough Attorney Nicholas Spiropoulos.
Neighbors have submitted complaints about wild driving, fireworks, abandoned junk and trash, public nudity, public drinking and drugs, trespassing on private property, and yards used as bathrooms. One resident put in an affadavit: “We have to take time off work because it’s too awful to travel through this gauntlet of drunk, druggies who are sometimes naked and all their dogs.”
The festival runs twice a year. Complaints began in 2006. This year it is advertised for May 27 through May 29 on private property on S. Bradley Road in Trapper Creek. At a festival in 2010 up to 1,500 were there. When more than 500 people gather at a special outside event, a Borough special event and mass outdoor gathering permit is required. Last year Rousseau was cited by a Borough Code Compliance officer when the gathering surpassed 500.
A permit for such special outdoor events is required by Borough Code to ensure that health and safety issues are addressed in mass gatherings. These include minimum security, emergency medical services, potable water, sanitation facilities, solid waste disposal, access and traffic control, parking, insurance, fire protection, and quiet hours.
Rousseau was asked to apply for a permit this year but has not submitted one. An application for a special events permit is required to be submitted to the Borough 90 days in advance of advertising for a special event/mass outdoor gathering.
The court order or BluegrassPrelimInjunction is linked here.
For more information call Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at 745-9577, 355-0103 or email