KANSAS CITY, Missouri - KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A member of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners is taking heat for comments made about Rockfest, the mud-soaked concert attended by an estimated 55,000 people on Saturday.
The combination of heavy equipment, thousands of feet and a lot of rain created the perfect recipe for a muddy mess near the Liberty Memorial at Penn Valley Park.
The promoter of the concert, AEG Live, is under contract to replace the sod and pay for damages.
However, parks board member Aggie Stackhaus said the event should look elsewhere for an encore.
After viewing the muddy aftermath at the park grounds, Stackhaus is quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying, “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. They have decimated and desecrated.”
Stackhouse was also quoted saying, “If people are going to come and use our park system, they’ve got to act like they have some manners. If they don’t have manners, they need to go somewhere else.”
The backlash surfaced quickly on Tuesday. On Facebook, several pages popped up that targeted Stackhaus (one is titled, “Get Aggie Stackhaus out of office”).
John Kessler, who attended Rockfest over the weekend, created a Facebook group called, “People for an apology for Aggie Stackhaus regarding Rockfest comments.”
Kessler wants more of an explanation of what Stackhaus meant by her remarks.
“With the rain and thousands of people trampling around, what can you expect?” he said. “She made it sound like we had an evil or bad intent to do it on purpose.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Mark Funkhouser rushed to show support for the annual event that draws out-of-town visitors. In a press release, he exclaimed that “Rockfest should rock on.”
“Grass will grow,” Funkhouser said. “We’re not trying to have what I used to call drive-by parks. We want parks with people in them.”
Bob Edwards, the program director of 98.9 the Rock, which helped put on the event, said the station received hundreds of emails on Tuesday from listeners angry about the comments. Edwards said it was not the first time the grass was destroyed from the event, saying the 2005 concert was also muddy.
Ground repair is expected to start Wednesday and wrap up by May 28, just in time for Memorial Day events.
Aside from paying damages, the promoter also paid $50,000 each to the city and memorial for use of the park space.
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