Supervisors approve new ordinance on outdoor festivals

Not only does Plumas County have a new festival manager, it has a new outdoor festival ordinance.

Plumas-Sierra County Fair Manager John Steffanic accepted the responsibility formerly held by Jim Graham of Plumas County Department of Public Works.

Graham agreed to continue to work with Steffanic until he’s familiar with the operation, it was determined at the Plumas County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, April 2.

During that same meeting, the first reading of the new ordinance on outdoor festivals was waived during a public hearing.


Public Works Director Bob Perreault was back with the proposed ordinance Tuesday, April 9.

With the approval by supervisors the new festival ordinance becomes effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Alcoholic beverages permits

The promoter of any event where alcohol will be served will provide a copy of the permit no later than five days before the event begins. The permit must be issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and given to the new director.

The Plumas County Sheriff or the director have the option of suspending operations or closing any outdoor festival if the alcoholic beverages are served without the appropriate permit.

This section is a change to the former county code and appears under Sec. 5-6.12.

The California Environmental Quality Act doesn’t apply to this section.

Change of hands

Perreault explained that in 2014 the ordinance had to be revamped. Public works offered to be the lead agency while the new ordinance was tested.


About a year later some fine-tuning was done to the ordinance, Perreault told supervisors April 2. At the time Graham was designated “festival czar” jokingly and was in charge of overseeing the work involved in administering five outdoor festivals.

At a later date, Perreault said he came back to supervisors and told them that public works had done its job.

Perreault said that Steffanic agreed to take over the duties “with the caveat” that Graham would provide some training. And Graham agreed.

Perreault said that Graham had developed an application flow chart showing participants what needed to be done and the different departments that were involved.

And because the application process became more streamlined, Perreault said that the cost to applicants actually went down.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked about fees. “Have we given thought to have revenue equal the expenses?”

Perreault indicated that was part of the application process. “We do return extra funds,” if the process isn’t as costly as originally determined.


He added that it ends up that there’s no cost to the county for each application.

Graham said that initially the application process was time consuming and that’s why application fees were relatively high. That system “has been tweaked to make it more efficient.”

There were some concerns surrounding the festivals at Belden and the timing of the Yellow Creek Bridge construction project. But it seems even that situation has been worked out. Construction should continue for another year or two, Perreault said.

Supervisor Jeff Engel said that as long as Steffanic was willing to take on the additional work (no monetary compensation was discussed) and Graham was willing to help, that it should be approved.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Perreault exclaimed when supervisors determined the change in management should work.

Sunset Campout

While discussing music festivals, Supervisors gave the nod to the organizers of the Sunset Campout Music Festival at Belden July 25-29.


This festival is promoted by Sunset Sound System with Galen Abbott and Solar Langevin of San Francisco.

The actual event takes place in the small community of Belden with parking set at Jack’s Place just off Highway 70.

Event setup begins July 24 and the actual events are listed as all day and evening.

On the application the organizers anticipate 800 participants, 200 staff members and about 150 artists and vendors on the site.

As part of the application process, organizers had to show proof of liability insurance, an emergency evacuation plan and other material. This event also generates transient occupancy taxes for Plumas County.

High Sierra

Supervisors signed a license agreement for another agreement with the organizers of High Sierra Music.

The event will once again take place at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds on July 4-7.

The new agreement begins this year and is effective for five years, until December 2023.


According to the contract, High Sierra Music, Inc. organizers have agreed to pay Plumas County $82,500 per year. This amount will increase by $1,500 each year as approved by Plumas County Council Craig Settlemire.

The agreement allows festival organizers to occupy the fairgrounds and agreed upon adjoining areas for 14 days.

The agreement spells out everything that organizers are responsible for. This includes garbage pickup, bathroom supplies and cleaning, condition of the grass in the main stage area and damages.

Organizers have a security and evacuation plan, and reimbursement plan, and plans for medical and ambulance services.

Organizers are also responsible for scheduling live performances on the main stage and other outdoor areas to conclude by 11 p.m. each festival night.