Concert promoter Danny Hayes sees Discovery Park as an ideal venue for his Aftershock heavy metal rock festival. Nearly 38,000 fans attended the two-day event on the American River earlier this month, prompting Hayes to talk about adding a third day and raising the daily attendance cap.
“We’re definitely coming back,” said Hayes, CEO of Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents. “The numbers prove there is a market there.”
Bill Davis doesn’t share his enthusiasm. The Sacramento resident argues that large, for-profit events such as Aftershock are inappropriate for the American River Parkway, a 29-mile ribbon of open space that starts in Discovery Park and stretches east to Folsom.
Davis is a board member of Save the American River Association, which last year sued the county to stop it from approving foot races, food truck festivals, concerts and other activities that the group contends are harming the ecologically sensitive riparian forest. Formed in 1961, SARA helped establish the American River Parkway, a recreational centerpiece of the Sacramento region. “Our concern is the impact on the park’s resources and wildlife,” Davis said.
Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen also has concerns. Hansen lives in Alkali Flat, a mile from Discovery Park, and heard the festival’s heavy metal music loudly and clearly on both nights.
“It’s a difficult balancing act, between large events and use of the parkway,” Hansen said. “Not every venue is appropriate for every event.”
Sacramento County is responsible for maintaining and managing the parkway, which is both a wildlife corridor and a place where about 5 million people come to play every year. County officials say the parkway is a public resource and its use should be available to any event that complies with the guidelines in a county parkway plan.
In 2014, the county expects to issue permits for 71 events on the parkway, including a Girl Scout camp, 5K runs and concerts. That’s an increase from 2012 and 2013, when there were 66 events permitted each year.
Aftershock is the latest flashpoint. Attendance has risen sharply since the festival drew 12,800 its first year in the city in 2012. In 2013, 30,000 people attended the two-day event. The growing popularity has prompted Danny Wimmer Presents to talk about expansion.