Heavy metal moves to Electric City

GHENT–Heavy metal music impresario Kenneth Randeze lost patience with Columbia County and pulled the plug on a proposal for a four-day concert July 15 to 18 at Meadowgreens on Route 9H. The festival, which he estimated would have attracted an audience of 5,000 per day, will now be held in Pattersonville near Schenectady, August 26 to 29.

Last week it looked like Mr. Randeze was making progress toward meeting county and state permit requirements. But he says he was then told by Michael Deruzzio, the acting environmental director at the county health department, that he would have to hire an engineer to work on enlarging the Meadowgreens campground. That was the last straw.

“The county didn’t want the event here,” said Meadowgreens owner Carmen Nero. “We were going to use local food, a local Portolet vender, local camping supplies. They would have bought a lot,” Mr. Nero said.

The owner of the golf course, campgrounds and the site where a fire early this year destroyed his restaurant had planned to fence off parts of his property to prevent crowds from getting too close to the runway at the Columbia County Airport.

Mr. Randeze had started to line up vendors to fulfill various festival needs, from tents and food, to sanitation and private jets. With the change of venue, those sales, including a $12,000 fee promised to the Greenport Rescue squad, will be transferred to the Pattersonville area, assuming the promoter can win approval there for his plans.

“They insulted my intelligence, my integrity, they talked down to me, they were rude. I don’t have to tolerate that, nor will I. I cannot imagine that everyone is against this,” said Mr. Randeze in a phone conversation Monday. “I’m not looking for trouble, I need to move on,” he said.

“I’m disappointed that another county will benefit from this and we won’t,” said Hillsdale Supervisor Art Baer (R), the finance officer for the county Board of Supervisors. “If they could have complied with all our health and safety requirements, the county would have generated significant revenue,” he said.

Mr. Baer estimates that the festival might have led to people spending around $1 million during the four-day event for food, wine, liquor, gas, store sales, garbage disposal services and sales tax. “The B&B’s and motels usually fill up, as they did during Falcon Ridge,” he said.

“At end of the day, what I like about festivals is they clean up everything after it’s over, then they leave and then they come back again the following year, without taxing our infrastructure during the year. Our county really should encourage these types of things,” Mr. Baer said.

“This was bringing new money into Columbia County and they chased the people away,” said Mr. Nero, sounding determined to turn Meadowgreens into “a place where we can have festivals here. We will have them,” he said.

 

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