Thumbs down on beer fest


To the Editor:

We are residents of the houses abutting Washington Park, where this weekend the Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival was held and attended by more than 1,300 people. This event was wholly centered around the consumption of alcohol, and included bands sending booming amplified music through the middle of a residential area that includes families with small children, the elderly, and this weekend, a party of wedding celebrants.

An event of this size, sound, and scope held in a tiny park, including a massive, festival-size tent blocking everything else from view, is not consistent with the theme of the Copeland District and its bylaws (Zoning Bylaws, 9, XVIII, D, 2/4), or of our family-friendly town. In clear language, the event was absolutely inescapable, and the cacophony of the five bands meant that residents close to and beyond the park were forced to be enrolled in an event that many found inconsistent with town values and the family-friendly park environment they value.

As taxpayers, we’re concerned that our small town opens itself to liability after the masses of people stumble away from the event, get in their cars, and return to their homes. We are concerned about the waste, broken bottles and glass, and potential destruction of park property left by revelers, machinery, porta-potties, and large temporary structures used for the event.

Further, this event did not follow proper approval procedures for a public event. Advertisements were already placed in papers as far away as the Globe, and on fliers around the Island, before plans were made known to neighbors or the permit process completed. This presented a fait accompli, and did not give neighbors an ability to have their voices heard. We already have plenty of great town businesses, including bars, restaurants, and clubs, people have enjoyed for decades.

I speak for 13 families living around the park, as well as the hundreds of other families who value and enjoy the existing culture of Oak Bluffs. We hope such events going forward would be properly vetted, properly considered, and properly rejected when they do not fit with the standards of the town. We can recall the Shark Festival was canceled when it was seen as in direct opposition with the town’s image, and we believe this event is similarly designed. Thank you for your consideration.

Bill and Veronica Lytle

Oak Bluffs