Plans For Free Kaysville Concert Drawing Controversy
KAYSVILLE, Utah — Plans for a large, free concert in Kaysville that were approved by Mayor Katie Witt have been drawing controversy as Utah prepares to move from the “orange” to “yellow” risk level.
Organizers said the concert is set for May 30 at Barnes Park and billed it as one of the first live concerts since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Witt said allowing the concert is the right thing to do.
“I knew right away that I had to do this because as soon as practical, we need to give our residents and our community that freedom of association back,” she said.
However, some people argued the mayor might have approved the concert, which is being organized by the Utah Business Revival group, for the wrong reasons.
“On so many levels it’s not right, and it’s literally breaking the backs of so many in town right now,” said former city council member Dave Adams.
Adams said he’s not only worried about health concerns surrounding the event, but added the concert could be a publicity stunt for Witt, who is running for Congress.
“If you were to call the city today, and ask for a reservation, even for a pavilion, you would not get that reservation,” he said. “Many are left to question why, how it is that a mayor is campaigning for a congressional seat in congress right now, has the ability and the power to usurp all of that and to reserve this park.”
But Witt said the concert is more about moving forward, hopefully charting a path for future public events like this.
“Because if we just wait until it’s absolutely risk-free to give people back their rights, then we have lost the point,” she said.
The path to reopening hasn’t always clear, but the folks at Utah Business Revival would like to push toward lifting restrictions now.
“In my belief, my opinion is that no government or health department has the right to even start these color codes to begin with,” said Eric Moutsos, a former police officer who spearheaded the Utah Business Revival group. “I think it’s imperative that we do this. I think it’s the most patriotic thing we can do. Some say it’s unamerican that we’re doing protests and that we’re questioning the government, and I completely disagree.”
Moutsos’ group argued health restrictions are hurting the economy and doing longterm damage to people’s lives. As part of the plan, venders would line one end of the parking lot and be able to sell and market to concertgoers.
“The point is there isn’t social distancing in grocery stores, where we’re being corralled to,” Moutsos said. “And so I understand that this may seem reckless, but if we continue on the path that we’re going, even in Utah, if we have a crashed economy, it’s very possible we’re all standing in government bread lines in six months.”
Witt pointed out that current guidelines do allow for larger events if they can maintain proper social distancing.
But with large events like the rallies this group already had, social distancing can be tough.
“We’ve done a great job of keeping people from getting sick in the state of Utah, and I think this threatens that,” said Brandon Bernedt, who started an online petition against the plans. “I also don’t like that (Witt)’s been touting that success and touting how good Kaysville’s done and keeping our parks closed for that reason, only to open it up to a political group that I feel she probably thinks could probably progress her political career.”
However, that’s not all that’s being done by concert opponents.
At least two city council members said they are against the concert and plan to vote down a noise ordinance that needs to be passed ahead of the event.
Additionally, if there will be more than 1,000 people in attendance, officials said the concert’s approval get pushed to the Davis County Health Department.
Witt said county health officials already told her if that happens, the decision will be pushed to Gov. Herbert’s office.
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