Today, an online petition and organized effort, named Marfa Says No (or MARFASAYSNO), was launched in an effort to resist the proposed C3 Festival, which aims to take place just outside of Marfa as soon as next year or perhaps 2021. The larger controversy over the proposed festival began earlier this year. (In March, Glasstire ran an op-ed by the late Lonn Taylor, a resident of Fort Davis, opposing the festival.) The size and nature of the festival, along with predictions about the festival’s growth, are at the center of the controversy. C3 Presents, the festival’s organizers, propose a multi-day annual music and arts festival that would take place on a private ranch a few miles north of Marfa. C3 Presents plan on 6,000+ attendees for the festival’s first year. (Marfa’s population is fewer than 2,000.)
Marfa Says No’s introduction states: “We feel that a corporate event of this size and scope would be a burden on the local community without bringing significant benefits. The desert may be rugged, but it’s also delicate; an enormous annual event would have impacts lasting well beyond the festival itself—environmentally, economically, socially, and culturally. ”
In another section of the website, Marfa Says No states:
“C3 Presents is responsible for Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, both of which have grown to more than 75,000 attendees over the years. C3 Presents is a for-profit corporation. They are in business to make money. That means this corporate event will grow larger in size and longer in duration.”
Lonn Taylor’s op-ed worded it this way:
“For several years the word has been out that someone at Ballroom Marfa would like to see a festival in Marfa that would rival the Burning Man festival in Nevada. In 2015 70,000 people attended Burning Man. … [I do not think that] a festival of this size during the height of fire season at a site whose only access is from two-lane State Highway 17 is such a good idea and I have written Judge Guevara, asking her to deny the permit, pointing out that the only way to get to the festival site from an Interstate Highway is to drive 50 miles down a two-lane road, which is also the main street of Fort Davis. I think that the proposed festival clearly presents a threat to the health and safety of everyone in Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties. It is simply too big for our combined public safety infrastructures. … The Rockhouse Fire, which started west of Marfa in April 2011 and burned 300,000 acres of grassland, required 500 firefighters from all over the country to put it out. A carelessly dropped cigarette, or a car parked in high grass with the engine running, could have the same result.”
Find Marfa Says No here.