Back in August, the 166-acre Dimmick Ranch was purchased for roughly $1.2 million by Outraged Orangutan LLC. The group consists of six Bay Area men including JJ Hanley, Ben Bleiman, Mark DeVito, Matt Klyce, Mike Naugle, and Duncan Ley.
Ley, who works with the Tonic Nightlife Group in San Francisco, calls the purchase a "lifestyle investment." He says there are no immediate plans to go into the business of producing festivals.
"We own bars and restaurants in the city. That's our day-job," says Duncan Ley "We're not festival producers. We're definitely involved in events and entertainment in San Francisco, but our main purpose in purchasing this land is not to throw festivals. This is a place where we're going to be able to come up and spend time."
"We're right in the middle of two different festivals. We're on the adjacent property to French's Camp and Reggae on the River, and we're adjacent to Keith Bowman's property where they held Northern Nights. We'd love to help out in any way we can with both of them, whether it's just parking or access. That's fine with us," Ley says. "But I can't say we have a timeline for when we'd like to see a major festival on Dimmick Ranch."
The purchase of the Dimmick Ranch included a variety of items that were still left over from years ago when Reggae on the River was held there. There were two trailers in poor condition, several water tanks, numerous showers, two barns, and a VIP loading area designed to have a stage built alongside.
"We do see the value of that permit and we're going to move it, but we don't know where to. We don't want it to expire, but we certainly don't want to compete with Reggae on the River," Ley says.
The 2012 foreclosure of Dimmick Ranch has been called the end to the conflicts between People Productions and the Mateel Community Center. That particular piece of real estate was at the heart of the conflict, due in large part to a permit that belongs to the land's owners. Outraged Orangutan LLC's Duncan Ley and his partners are aware of the community baggage that was also included in the purchase price, they don't see themselves as a part of this conflict.
"While we are aware of what happened, we're not intimately involved with it. We're not trying to take sides, we're just trying to figure out how we can come in and build bridges," Ley says. "There's definitely an apprehension, and people are wondering what we're trying to do."
"We just want to clear the air and let people know that we're not trying to steal anybody's festival. We're just here to be a part of the community."
One point of contention could arise from equipment and other forms of personal property that were left at the venue site after the festivals. Outraged Orangutan LLC has been approached by members of the community who had property liens, but from Ley's perspective many of those items were paid for free and clear in the purchase price. Still, they may be willing to work something out as a show of good faith in some cases involving small-ticket items.
"If it's something of great value that was part of the purchase price, that might be a different conversation," Ley says.