A production company that holds the Serenity Gathering is asking for a permit to stage the transformational festival in April at Woodward Reservoir Regional Park near Oakdale.
Though the festival’s name suggests a calm, meditative experience, the event is called the Serenity Gathering and Music Festival, and noise guidelines are discussed in a permit request that goes before the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The festival proposed for April 27-29 is recommended for routine approval on the consent agenda.
Serenity Gathering, LLC, has held music festivals for more than five years, including an event at Joshua Tree park in 2016 and previous festivals at La Jolla Indian Reservation and Zaca Lake, southeast of Santa Maria.
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Stanislaus County officials expect that 4,000 people will attend the three-day gathering in April, which would make it smaller than the Symbiosis gatherings held at Woodward between 2013 and 2016. Almost 19,000 attended the largest Symbiosis festival. Symbiosis was moved to Oregon this year and coincided with the solar eclipse.
Serenity gatherings are timed to celebrate the spring equinox. According to Serenity’s website, the events promote a “cleaner, healthier and more organic existence.” Previous festivals have featured psychedelic, world, electronic and dance music and other entertainment on stage.
A plan calls for holding the spring festival on the more secluded northeast area of Woodward park.
County staff said the live music must comply with the same noise restrictions that were developed for the Symbiosis gatherings. The first Symbiosis festival in 2013 drew a number of complaints from neighbors who were annoyed by a bass sound that carried far outside the park boundary.
The county has imposed decibel limits and other guidelines for concerts at Woodward, based on a July 2014 sound test conducted by acoustical engineers. Those restrictions have since kept complaints to a minimum, the county says.
“We don’t expect any issues,” said Jami Aggers, director of county environmental resources. A Serenity representative did not return a phone message Monday.
It’s too early to know if festival-goers can take a dip in Woodward Reservoir, which serves as a drinking water supply for cities in San Joaquin County. Swimming is not permitted when the reservoir level is down, but the restriction is often lifted in the spring or early summer.
Serenity will pay a $40,000 flat fee to the county if the body-to-water restrictions are in place. Counting other fees for staff time and exclusive use, the county expects to take in almost $50,000 under that scenario.
If there are no water restrictions, the county will receive $5 per person for each day of the festival and could rake in $84,600 in revenue from the event.
A plan for the April festival includes traffic controls to direct the thousands of participants to a festival entrance separate from the main park entrance. Serenity also has a plan for security and coordination with law enforcement and other emergency services.
The county has marketed its larger parks for regional events as a way to increase revenue. Aggers said her department is in discussions for holding another festival similar to Serenity and Symbiosis.
The Board of Supervisors will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, at 1010 10th St., Modesto.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16