The devastating Rim Fire caused the cancellation of both the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Strawberry Music Festivals. Now, according to the Strawberry website, the issuance of a permit for the Fall 2014 festival is in doubt. Concerns have been raised over the supply of potable water and the forest closure conditions along Evergreen Road, leading to Camp Mather. Withholding this permit threatens the very existence of the festival:
As you know, the permit for the Fall 2014 Festival is required for us to receive previously approved disaster relief funding from the Small Business Administration. Our loan with the SBA was approved, in part, because Strawberry Music Festival is an essential part of the economic recovery of the Groveland area and Hwy 120 corridor businesses. The residents and business owners of this community have suffered enough as a result of the Rim Fire and again during the month long closure of Yosemite National Park. Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator’s office have lent us their full support, because of the positive impact Strawberry has had on the economy and the integrity with which we have conducted our business for over three decades.
At the suggestion of the festival organizers, I sent the following letter to Mayor Edwin Lee of San Francisco and I urge all friends of Strawberry to do the same.
Mayor Edwin Lee
City Hall, Room 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Dear Mayor Lee,
I am writing to urge you to direct the Recreation and Parks Department to issue a permit for the Fall 2014 Strawberry Music Festival. The survival of the festival, now in its 33rd year, depends on it. I understand the department’s concerns about the fragile health of the forest following the Rim Fire, however I am certain that these concerns can be effectively addressed. The Strawberry community (for that’s what it is, after so many years) will be most willing to comply with all necessary restrictions, including supplying our own potable water and making a safe entry and exit to the festival on Evergreen Road.
Our family has been attending the Strawberry Music Festival since 2005. Last year, when we should have been enjoying the show or relaxing in camp, we were evacuating our home in Tuolumne, as the fire approached to within three miles. Thankfully, Tuolumne was successfully defended. We were thrilled to learn that Camp Mather was as well. Without a permit to produce a festival this fall, it is likely that Strawberry will be a permanent victim of this devastating fire.
Again, I ask for your support in preserving a cultural treasure of California.