My name is Brandon Schlia. I'm the President and Founder of Steak & Cake Records, a pro- local indie record label based in the village of Elmwood. Last August the label held the first annual Bidwell Indie 5000 music festival. It was the perfect end to a summer that saw the beginnings of a resurgence in our music community. The little kids were dancing, the grandparents were laughing, the bands played great and we all had an excellent time celebrating the artistry of our home town.
We had chosen that location in particular considering its proximity to our headquarters as well as its prominent visibility. Scheduling it in conjunction with the final day of the Elmwood Arts Festival also boosted the amount of random foot traffic, furthering our goal of providing maximum exposure for our well deserving local artists.
This year we got a head start on planning. Seeing that our event is funded wholly by donation, we were all very excited to make it bigger and better as a way to honor everyone who's been so generous with their contributions. I submitted all the necessary paperwork and payment to the City of Buffalo on April 21st and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we'd have it all wrapped up early this year. On April 29th we were notified that we had been denied access to Bidwell.
This decision was allegedly based on complaints from resident(s) that we were illegally selling alcohol and that we'd breeched our permit time. However, both of these accusations are wholly untrue. We didn't sell anything at the event and we were done well in advance of our permitted time. If there was any merit to their claims you might assume there'd be some sort of police involvement. That day, one officer stopped by early on to check our paperwork, and that was that.
We were shocked. We requested a formal meeting with the Parks and Recreation Department's Deputy Commissioner. At the very least we sought to clear our name and restore an accurate representation of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. The response back was: "The decision from the committee is final - you cannot have your event at Bidwell Park this year." We weren't even granted the chance to discuss the misinformation. We were all very disappointed in such a blatant lack of professionalism. If it were the case that the residents of the parkway were unanimously against the event, then we'd be glad to respect their wishes and cease proceedings. However, it seems more than likely these complaints were lodged by a singular source with some strings to pull. Unfortunately we'll never know the specifics due to their unwillingness to sit down together.
We're a community conscious organization. This winter we held a fundraiser for the Buffalo Public School's "Let the Band Play On Campaign" because we believe in investing in a good foundation for the future artists of Buffalo. We host our summer festival for one reason only, to provide a clear channel between our underground talent and the everyday citizen. It costs nothing to attend, there aren't any vendors competing for your dollars. It's all about the music and the city for us and it always will be; if only they'd allow us to do what we do best.
I want everyone who donated and supported us to know that we wanted to give you another Bidwell Indie 5000. We wanted it to be bigger and better than last year and it could have been but the powers that be have decided otherwise. We will continue to plan events but as of right now we haven't decided what's next. If you have any questions or suggestions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org