Newburgh officials say Illuminated Festival organizers would not agree to ‘common-sense’ terms before event cancellation

In a statement released Friday, city officials said organizers “unilaterally” canceled the festival after they “outright refused even the most routine and reasonable public safety measures.”

News 12 Staff

Apr 14, 2023, 5:40 PM

Updated 437 days ago

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The Newburgh Illuminated Festival has been canceled.
Festival organizer Rich Fracasse said they were not going to be able to hold it at the beginning of June as planned because of disagreements between organizers and the city about the time and location of the festival.
He said that they were planning to end the festival at 10 p.m. just like last year, but city administrators would only issue a permit for a 7 p.m. end time.
Organizers also said they were planning to expand the size of the festival area because they were expecting a crowd that would have been larger than last year's 75,000 attendees - but claimed administrators offered a smaller area.
In a statement released Friday, city officials said organizers “unilaterally” canceled the festival after they “outright refused even the most routine and reasonable public safety measures.”
City officials said after hours of public comment this week, City Council agreed to extend the time of the festival by 90 minutes so that it ends before dark. They also said the festival’s footprint was adjusted by two blocks so that first responders could more easily access the festival. 
“Those were the common-sense terms under which the City approved the permit for the Festival. To be clear: the City of Newburgh approved the permit for the Newburgh Illuminated Festival. Inexplicably, those terms were unanimously rejected by the Newburgh Illuminated Corporation. That conversation is documented, in writing,” city officials said.
Fracasse said the Illuminated Festival board is trying to get leaders in other communities, including the nearby Town of Newburgh, to host the festival later this summer if they do not strike a deal with the city.
A Town of Newburgh council member who is also on Illuminated's vendors committee said there is no venue or park in the town that could accommodate a festival this size. He said he hopes the city and the Illuminated organizers come to an agreement.
Illuminated organizers are also considering holding the festival at a county park. A county spokesperson said parks nearby could not handle a crowd of that nature.


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