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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kinfolks Soul Food Festival Leaves Forest Park Trashed, St. Louis Crowd Furious

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Fans at Kinfolks Soul Food Festival on Saturday -- before things got messy. - MICAH USHER FOR RIVERFRONT TIMES
  • Micah Usher for Riverfront Times
  • Fans at Kinfolks Soul Food Festival on Saturday -- before things got messy.

An Oklahoma-based production company with an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau did little to improve its reputation during a stop through St. Louis on Saturday.

Slideshow: Kinfolks Soul Food Festival in Forest Park

Those who attended the Kinfolks Soul Food Festival on Forest Park's Art Hill complain that the event was mired from the start. Fans had to stand in excruciatingly long lines to enter the festival, even as temperatures soared into the upper 90s, and then wait 40 minutes between musical acts once the event finally got under way. And the problems didn't end when the much-delayed festival finally wrapped at 12:45 a.m. -- nearly two hours after it was supposed to have concluded. As the sun rose on Sunday, park officials realized that no one from Kinfolks Soul Food Festival had bothered to clean up litter from the event that left Art Hill looking like a debris field.

click to enlarge Art Hill littered with food containers and bottles from Kinfolks Soul Food Festival. - COURTESY OF GARY BESS
  • Courtesy of Gary Bess
  • Art Hill littered with food containers and bottles from Kinfolks Soul Food Festival.

"We haven't had a situation like this in years," parks director Gary Bess tells Daily RFT. "They failed to comply with a number of their permits. From start to finish it was mismanaged."

On Sunday morning Bess says he called the local firm that was supposed to pick up after the event and was told that financial arrangements had fallen through between the cleaning company and Kinfolks. But the owner of the cleaning company had his people come in anyway, says Bess, because he wanted to maintain good relations with the city. The same cleaning crew picked up after Fair St. Louis earlier this month and, according to Bess, had the park looking spiffy each morning.

  • Photo courtesy of Gary Bess

The parks director adds that organizers of the Kinfolks festival also failed to lower the volume onstage -- as outlined in its permit -- at 8:15 p.m. so as not to disturb the musical Porgy and Bess playing at the Muny. The festival, which featured R&B acts such as Morris Day & the Time, Mint Condition and Kelly Price, then played on well past its curfew of 11 p.m.

"At 12:45 the park rangers and police came by and basically closed the event down," says Bess.

The organizers of Kinfolks Soul Food Festival will lose the $1,000 security deposit they placed with the city to host the event in Forest Park. Kinfolks' insurance company may also be on the hook for damages to the property. Bess says Art Hill looked to be back to normal for the most part after the clean-up crew finally removed the litter on Sunday afternoon -- though grass seems to be dead in one spot where someone may have dumped cooking grease.

Continue on for complaints from fans who attended Kinfolks' St. Louis show and events elsewhere.

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