Grizzly Fest cancelled for 2020 amid negotiations with City of Fresno, organizers say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Grizzly Fest will not happen in 2020. Organizers made the announcement Wednesday morning, saying the annual music festival will be hibernating this year.

"The city has to do its due diligence, what's best for the city and we understand that," says Grizzly Fest organizer Aren Hekimian. "We have to do what's best for us."

And what's best for organizers they say is to take a year off.

Hekimian is optimistic his team can reach a long-term deal with the city, but recent stalled negotiations made it too difficult to produce the annual event this Spring.

"It usually takes about nine months to produce this event, so we've been in talks with the city for the last four or five months," Hekimian said. "Just really trying to hammer out the numbers for what makes sense and what doesn't make sense."

The festival was originally held at the Fairgrounds when it launched in 2012.

The event moved to Chukchansi Park a couple of years later, and then Woodward Park in Northeast Fresno in 2018.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld supports Grizzly Fest but feels it would be better suited in Downtown after he says homeowners complained about the noise.

"In some sense, it's disappointing, because I know some people really love Grizzly Fest and enjoy it, and we'll see if that can get worked out," Bredefeld said. "I hope it can get worked out for both sides, but I hope it also gets worked out where it goes to the Downtown area, where I really feel it belongs."

Organizers say Grizzly Fest has outgrown Downtown and Chukchansi Park.

"The baseball stadium is a baseball stadium first and foremost, and we have to abide by much more red tape to do an event at the baseball stadium than at a city park that has nothing,"

Mayor Lee Brand's office released a statement that says in part:

"We have discussed different long-term arrangements, subject to City Council approval, but have yet to come to an agreement."
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