Blue Lake’s Funk ‘N’ Reggae is not the Northern Humboldt version of Reggae on the River

City: 'It's a whole separate production with a very different type of music lineup and intention'

Perigot Park in Blue Lake, where the inaugural Funk ‘N’ Reggae Music Festival is set to be held Sept. 14 and 15. (Courtesy of city of Blue Lake)
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The Funk ‘N’ Reggae Music Festival was originally envisioned as a block party in Eureka, but as the anticipated crowd size grew, organizers decided to move the venue to Blue Lake.

Almost 300 people — 292 as of Wednesday afternoon — have committed to going on Facebook, while about 1,400 people have expressed interest in the music festival, which is set to take place at Perigot Park on Sept. 14 and 15 and is being organized by Forever Found Humboldt. Amanda Mager, Blue Lake’s city manager, said reactions from the residents of the community were “a little bit mixed at first.”

“A lot of misinformation put out via social media got a lot of things confused,” Mager said.

Some people thought the event was actually Reggae on the River, an annual fundraiser for the Mateel Community Center in Southern Humboldt that was canceled this year, relocating to Blue Lake, Mager said.

“It’s not,” Mager said. “It’s a whole separate production with a very different type of music lineup and intention.”

The festival is sponsored by multiple local cannabis businesses that are included on advertising for the event.

Besides the rumors and misconceptions, Mager said the community has real concerns about an increase in traffic.

“We’re a very densely residential community and any time there’s a large event, it brings a lot of traffic,” Mager said. “That’s concerning for all of us.”

However, the event organizers are professionals who have been putting on events for the community for a long time, said event organizer Roy Gomes. He and the other event organizers attended the Blue Lake City Council meeting Tuesday night to allay some of the community’s concerns, such as amplified music, which Gomes said he believes they succeeded at doing.

“We got everyone’s blessing,” Gomes said. There are coordinators dedicated specifically to vending, parking and volunteers who are all well-experienced, he said.

Some concerns were brought up about smoking in the park, but Gomes said “there’s no smoking, period, in the park” and security will do its best to make sure people who want to smoke go to designated areas away from the park.

The event is intended to be family-friendly and will include a whole family zone, Gomes said. The zone will include games for kids, presentations from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, face painting and a 360-degree planetarium that will include a 30-minute educational show called “Earth to the Universe,” among other things.

For the adults, the event will combine two of the community’s favorite genres, funk and reggae, into one event, Gomes said.

The event organizers are all locals and understand if there’s a lot of residential impact, they won’t be invited back, Mager said, so they “want to leave a good impression.”

“We’re continuing to work through community concerns,” Mager said, “but we believe impacts will be fairly minimal.”

The city’s done its best to be transparent about the event, Mager said, and the dialogue taking place through the council meetings and social media outreach has “been able to give people another level of comfort about the event.”

The city is looking at the event as a learning opportunity to figure out logistics and whether events of a similar size would work in Blue Lake, Mager said.

“Blue Lake is really looking at arts and culture as our economic focus,” Mager said. “This is part of that pathway to building our capacity to do these types of events in the future.”

The festival costs $100 for a two-day general admission ticket. For more information, go to www.foreverfoundhumboldt.com.

Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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