Future of Riot Fest up in the air: Hundreds speak out at meeting about music festival in Byers

Riot Fest still needs permitting

BYERS, Colo. - A couple hundred people showed up Tuesday evening at the American Legion Hall to give their input about holding Riot Fest in Byers for the second year.

The three-day music festival, held last year at May Farms, features a lineup of punk and rock bands and is expected to draw 17,500 people this year.  It’s planned for the weekend of Sept. 19-21.

May Farm’s is waiting for Arapahoe County Commissioners to decide whether they will be given permitting for the event.

During Tuesday night’s public hearing, residents complained of noise, traffic and the late hours of last year’s event.

“We don’t think it’s good for a community this size at all,” said Donna Contento, who lives about 3.5 miles from May Farms.

Contento said the noise cracked a window on her home. Some neighbors said the event attracted the wrong crowd with “tattoos” and “inappropriate attire.”

“There were young people sitting on Main Street drinking and intoxicated.  They were staggering along Main and Front Street along Highway 36 with open containers,” Byers resident Peg Sales told the commissioners.

Residents like Criss McComb, who attended Riot Fest last year, told 7NEWS neighbors had baseless and biased reasons for not wanting the event to return for a second year.

“I’m just tired of them using their own personal reasons against it, there’s nothing wrong with what’s going on and it’s a small country town and they just don’t want to accept something that’s different." McComb said.

Others voiced their support and said the town desperately needs the economic boost.

“Byers don’t even have a restaurant anymore so for somebody to actually put something together to bring business to the community is a good thing,” said Moose Pier who owns a local ice cream shop.

The Arapahoe County Commissioners will decide on two Riot Fest issues. The first is whether to give the festival’s producers a temporary use permit for the event.  Commissioners will also decide whether to approve May Farms’ application by Special Review amendment that would expand its agri-tainment operations by 195 acres for large events like Riot Fest.

No word on when County Commissioners are expected to make a decision.


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