Fort Reno Concert Series Cancelled, Says Organizer

By Ally Schweitzer

The popular Fort Reno concert series is canceled this year, says the series' organizer.
The popular Fort Reno concert series is canceled this year, says the series' organizer.

Read the latest on Fort Reno at this link.

Update, 3:36 p.m. Friday: Fort Reno concert organizer Amanda MacKaye says she is scheduled to meet with representatives from the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police on Monday. The meeting was arranged by D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss, a former Fort Reno concert booker. Sen. Strauss calls the meeting “very preliminary,” but “a good positive step.”

Update, 8:05 a.m. Friday: The U.S. Park Police issued a statement on Fort Reno Thursday night.

Today, the National Park Service (NPS) was notified by the permit applicant for the Fort Reno concert series that she intended to postpone the concerts. The United States Park Police (USPP) reached out to the applicant today. The NPS and USPP are reviewing the details of previous permits and previous law enforcement needs related to the concert series. Our primary goal is public safety. Both the NPS and USPP recognize the importance of the concerts to the community and look forward to further discussions with the permit applicant.

Original post:

The annual Fort Reno concert series, long a popular destination for fans of D.C. rock music, is canceled, according to a message posted today on the series’ website.

Fort Reno concert organizer Amanda MacKaye writes that the U.S. Park Police is levying a requirement that the park pay for an officer to staff each concert, and the expense is too great for the series to cover. Update, 11:46 a.m.: According to Washington City Paper, MacKaye says putting an officer on-site would have cost about $2,600 for the summer—$100 more than the concert series’ total budget.

“Around the time that we should have received our finalized permit for this summer, the concert series was informed by National Park Service that U.S. Park Police was imposing a requirement that we pay for an officer to be posted on site at each concert,” the website says. “And this is not a little cost as USPP seems to think. It will literally double the VERY small budget of the concert series.”

MacKaye’s message continues, “That all said, with the heaviest of hearts the decision is that the concert series will be dark for 2014 in an effort to resolve this for the future.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Park Police says it’s routine for National Park Service-controlled parks to staff events like outdoor concert series with Park Police officers, and this year, the USPP may just be “bringing [Fort Reno] up to speed with the standards for the safety and security of patrons.”

Fort Reno has been hosting live music every summer since 1968. Update, 2:27 p.m.: Fans of Fort Reno have started a petition on change.org, calling for the U.S. Park Police to allow the series to “continue as it [has] for over 40 years.”

Bandwidth has reached out to MacKaye and spokespeople at the National Park Service for more information. This post will be updated as we learn more.

Photo by Flickr user ann gav used under a Creative Commons license.

  • real talk

    $2,600 would be so easy to raise through donations. Seems like maybe there was another reason for the cancellation…