North Beach Jazz Fest organizers fought through the party poopers, only to be confronted by the cops with a new challenge: a steep increase in police fees.
"This year, $25,613 for 16 officers. Last year, $4,650 for 7 officers," fest organizer Robert Kowal told the Guardian. "We just want to put on a free concert, and the public stance toward us has been extremely obstructionist and inflammatory."
Captain James Dudley told us the bill was a draft based on last month's North Beach Festival, where the addition of a beer garden to the event scheme actually made their job a little harder because of multiple entrances and a confused private security.
"So we fully staffed it," said Dudley.
After threatening a lawsuit, Kowal and his co-organizers sat down with Dudley and worked out a plan that would require more private security and volunteers and fewer of the costly badges and billy clubs.
"The police are to be commended for sticking with what keeps them safe, but we're a much smaller event, and we only have one street closure," said Kowal. Only in their wildest woodwind dreams would the Jazz Fest organizers hope for a crowd as large as the North Beach Festival's. And they are hoping. Due to the change in alcohol policy and the additional security, the fest is still expected to cost $15,000–$20,000 more than last year.
"We made a lot of compromises to make sure this festival is still free," said Kowal. "We're hoping someone comes forward with a big donation. But we need a miracle. We need a really sunny day and we need to sell a lot of Angel Passes."
For jazz fans who want to chip in, the fest is offering "Angel Packages" for $100, which include tickets to all four night shows (which are not free) and an "I Saved North Beach Jazz Fest" T-shirt. (Witherell)