Friday September 14, 2012

LENOX -- The town has threatened to pull the plug on this weekend's BerkshireStock outdoor rock festival at the Eastover Resort unless the owners can hire a licensed, bonded and insured security firm this afternoon.

The decision to shut down the event if no organized security plan is in place followed an early-morning discussion between Town Manager Gregory Federspiel and Lenox Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.

The resort had tried but failed to negotiate a contract with three security companies earlier this week. Lenox and Lee police, the Sheriff's Department and the state police all declined last-minute requests to patrol the two-day event. It is slated to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, when gates open, and continue through 9 p.m. Sunday with 40 bands, overnight camping, and sales of food, beer and wine on the property.

"They need to do it right," Federspiel told The Eagle.

If the resort is unable to come up with an official, formal security plan, said the town manager, "they're not going to be able to proceed with the show."

"If they haven't complied with security needs, we'll revoke their general permit and entertainment license," he added. The final decision is due this afternoon, said Federspiel, in consultation with public safety officials.

"They're working hard to comply, and I hope they do," he added.

O'Brien delivered the message from Federspiel to Eastover co-owner Yingxing Wang this morning at Eastover.

"She was not happy about it," he told The Eagle after emerging from a five-minute meeting with Wang.

Just before the police chief arrived, Wang told The Eagle that the resort had assembled its own security patrol consisting of at least 20, including "our own crew, local security guards from various events, they put a team together, and from volunteers. As things develop, we can always call more people in."

"The whole community is very supportive," she maintained. Wang added that "we are in contact with the sheriff's office and the state police."

According to Wang, who described the festival as a family affair, Eastover is prepared to handle as many as 10,000 concertgoers, though she expects between 2,000 to 5,000.

"Most of the people who have booked tickets are families with kids coming with campers or RVs," she said. "People are very, very respectful, they ask us what they can bring, what they cannot bring. I don't see any kind of trouble looming or whatever. I see it as a wonderful event for the local community."

This report will be updated at www.berkshireeagle.com and in Saturday's print edition of The Eagle.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto