Tribute band festival looks to set up stage in Cedar Park

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Cedar Park may soon be the home of a new annual music festival.

City resident Tim Kelly plans to launch the Cedar Stock Tribute Band Festival in Cedar Park this September. He founded Cedar Park Entertainment Group in 2017 with help on production and planning from Trey Hensley, who is a producer of concerts and festivals.

“Our goal is to put Cedar Park on the map,” Hensley said at a Cedar Park Parks, Arts and Community Enrichment board meeting in January.

Originally they aimed to hold the event in Veterans Memorial Park in the spring with two stages—the first to house popular tribute bands like Guns 4 Roses, a Guns N’ Roses tribute, and the second to host alternative performances like children’s entertainers and high school bands.

“We envision the beginning of an era of tribute bands to fill a void in rock music,” Kelly said. “Almost all of [the] bands we love from the '70s and '80s are either deceased, retired or retiring.”

He said he expects 2,000-3,000 fans the first year of the festival, including at least approximately 200 out-of-town guests and over 1,500 local attendees. He plans to expand the event from one to two days in its third year, and said by the fifth to 10th year it could attract 6,000-10,000 fans.

Andy Hogue, spokesperson for the group, said one of the goals of the festival is to bring in non-residents to patronize hotels and restaurants in Cedar Park. Cedar Park Entertainment Group will advertise the event using social media and radio, trying to draw people from outside the Austin area, Kelly said. The event will feature food, beer and retail vendors, Kelly said.

“We’re planning to donate portions of our revenue to nonprofit military organizations and a high school choir/theater in the first year,” Kelly said.

Curt Randa, Cedar Park parks and recreation director, said during a February City Council meeting that city staff met for a comprehensive review of the event’s permit application. He said the scale and nature of the event raised some concerns, including parking logistics, noise impacts, necessity to close the park to the public fully or partially, and park restoration costs after the event.

“[If] approval of a large-scale privately run music event were to happen, then we would most likely get additional requests in the future,” Randa said. “To accommodate this we would most likely need to rethink and expand our special events resources and also need to carefully evaluate potential impact to the public’s use of the parks.”

Kelly began negotiations with the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park as a potential location for the event instead, and moved the date to Sept. 22 from 2-10 p.m. The later date will allow the group to recruit from a larger pool of talent, Hogue said, although the scope may be reduced to one stage. According to the H-E-B Center, all conversations currently underway are preliminary.

Assistant City Manager Sam Roberts said city staff would begin looking into what resources would be needed to hold similar events in the future and review the special event permitting process for possible improvements.

“This is something that I know there’s a little bit of trepidation around because it’s an unknown,” City Council Member Kristyne Bollier said. “I think we should also look at it as an opportunity or investment. … Imagine [Austin City Limits] a gazillion years ago. A risk was taken, and there’s a reward.”

Cedar Park Entertainment Group requested $50,000 in hotel occupancy tax funds from the city’s tourism board at a meeting March 27. A decision on the funding was postponed to a later meeting.
By Abby Bora

Abby Bora started at Community Impact Newspaper in May 2017. After working as a reporter, she became editor of the Cedar Park-Leander edition in October 2018. She covers Leander ISD and city government. Bora graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. with a bachelor’s degree in media and communications studies.


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