Mad Town Festival gets shut down

Patrick Yost News

An annual festival running for the last three years in Gilbert Park is getting the axed, according to City of Madison officials.

The event, formerly known as Mad Town, has been held every Fall for the last three years in Gilbert Park, drawing hundreds of attendees for a family-friendly neighborhood festival.

But according to the City, every year the event brings in complaints from local residents over loud music, excessive traffic, and public urination.

“It’s a great idea and a great event, but Gilbert Park is just not the space for it,” said City Manager David Nunn. “We thought this event would be a success and it is, but it has outgrown Gilbert Park.”

The Madison Mayor and City Council discussed the matter at Monday evening’s regular meeting, after a local resident, Josie Jefferson, complained about the event. Jefferson noted that in addition to loud noise and traffic congestion, that she caught a festival attendee urinating on her property.

“This is the third year we are dealing with this. I am ready to retire and want to sit on my porch and enjoy our neighborhood,” said Jefferson to the council Monday evening.

“We appreciate you bringing to our attention,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman. “After your comments tonight, I’m pretty sure our council members will decide they need to bring this event to a bigger space.”

The council had hoped this year’s event would be tamer than previous years since the event organizer, Antwon Carter, complied with all of the council’s requests for the event, including off-duty police officers on site and the addition of portable toilets. The City also asked that dirt bikes and ATVs not be encouraged for this year’s event.

“There was definitely marked improvements this year,” said Nunn. “But that space has limitations that just cannot be fixed like the loud music bothering residents and no adequate parking so that cars and motorcycles end up blocking people’s driveways and blocking streets.”

The council tasked Nunn with writing Mr. Carter a letter to inform him that if the event is to continue in Madison, he will have to find a different venue for next year.

“The event needs a bigger space that are designed for large events,” said Nunn. “Gilbert Park is mostly a passive park designed for small gatherings like a birthday party or individual family parties,” said Nunn.

“We think the idea of the event is great, and Mr. Carter is a fine young man for wanting to have a family-friendly event for all ages and we hope the event will continue to be successful,” said Nunn. “But it has outgrown Gilbert Park.”

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