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Mamby on the Beach’s new location threatened by advocates for endangered birds

Mamby on the Beach 2019

Annual Chicago, IL festival Mamby on the Beach announced a new beachside location for its 2019 edition, moving from Oakwood Beach to Montrose Beach on August 23-24. Organizers hailed the new location as “conveniently located on the city’s Northside, just a short 15-minute walk from the CTA Red Line Wilson St. stop and a 5-minute walk to multiple CTA bus stops,” and having “additional space to accommodate three stages, beach-friendly games, all-inclusive activities and a growing family of 50,000 music fans.” Not everyone is in favor of the new location, though; Chicago Sun Times reports that conservationists for the endangered piping plover fear that the festival will displace the habitat of a mating pair of the birds, whose nest and eggs have been guarded by a rotating shift of volunteers.

From Chicago Sun Times:

One of the many threats is MAMBY on the Beach, say bird conservation groups lead by the Chicago Ornithological Society. The musical festival is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23 and 24 and expected to draw as many as 20,000 people to the lakefront each day.

Seeking to allay concerns about the safety of the birds, Jerry Mickelson, who heads up concert organizer JAM Productions, said he’d be willing to pick up the tab to supplement the dawn-to-dusk volunteers with overnight private security during the concert festival.

He made the offer earlier this week during a meeting with city officials and the leaders of several concerned businesses and community groups, including Jill Niland of the Montrose Lakefront Coalition, which is seeking to have the festival moved away from the Montrose Beach area.

Late last month the coalition sent a letter to the Chicago Park District “emphatically” requesting the event not be allowed to take place at or near Montrose Beach. One main concern: violation of the Endangered Species Act under which the birds are protected.

Mickelson, upset the coalition hadn’t aired their concerns previously despite an attempt to sit down with the group, responded with a missive reading, in part: “Why do you feel that MAMBY music fans do not have the right to enjoy Montrose Beach just like others do? Who appointed MLC as gate keeper?”

He went on: “Let me warn you that there are millions of dollars at risk here and all of you might be exposing yourselves to this liability by your interference with our right to hold this event at Montrose Beach that you have requested/insisted the park district not allow.”

The Chicago Park District hasn’t issued the event a permit yet (although tickets are on sale), and said that they are “in discussions with Mamby Festival to negotiate an agreement that would bring the event to Montrose Beach.”

Meanwhile, the festival’s lineup is set to include Brockhampton, Noname, Santigold, Empress Of, Flying Lotus, Phantogram, Sylvan Esso, T-Pain, and more.

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