Key West approves country music festival for amphitheater debut

Key West’s amphitheater is at the Truman Waterfront Park, which remains under construction.
Key West’s amphitheater is at the Truman Waterfront Park, which remains under construction. Keynoter

Key West’s amphitheater, which is still under construction, will host a country folk music festival Feb. 7 to 10 — so far, the inaugural event for the island’s newest performance venue.

But in a 4-3 decision Tuesday, the City Commission slapped a 3 to 10 p.m. curfew on the first two days and an 11 p.m. cutoff point for the final two days.

“It’s not a boy band with a whole lot of speakers,” said Tim Cable of Ohwook, adding the crowd is estimated to be 1,500 to 1,800 the first year and would never grow larger than 3,500, the capacity of the amphitheater.

The event’s producer, the Oklahoma-based Ohwook Productions Inc., wanted the Americana Folk Country Music Festival to run until 1 a.m.

“You’re not in Oklahoma,” said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, saying homes are closer to such venues in Key West. “I support the amphitheater, but those putting on these events have to understand the relationship between the stage and the residential neighborhoods.”

Weekley also said the Fantasy Fest event the Headdress Ball, set for late October, will be the first event at the amphitheater.

“We’re not done with the amphitheater yet, that’s a little tight,” City Manager Jim Scholl said.

Voting no were commissioners Sam Kaufman, Clayton Lopez and Margaret Romero.

The city will earn $8,000 from the event, Mayor Craig Cates said, with a ticket surcharge earmarked for the city.

“The top dollar for it is not exactly what we’re after right now,” Cates said. “We’re after a well-run event that’s managed properly. We’ll make adjustments for our citizens in the future.”

Also Tuesday, the commission:

▪ Approved spending $220,000 in settlements for two lawsuits related to the poor condition of certain city streets.

▪ Approved spending $43,260 for repair and sod replacement in portions of the Poinciana Elementary School soccer field by T. Mac Wilder and Associates.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen