Mateel Board Apologizes and Lays Out What They Are Doing to Meet the Financial Crisis in Letter to the Editor

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Dear Community, Mateel Members and Friends,

The Mateel Board of Directors must accept responsibility for the financial losses of our Community Center, and apologize for the lack of oversight and fiscal control that led us here. As a nine-member board comprised of elected and appointed individuals, we are committed and unified on retaining the Mateel Community Center, a space where our core community values can be shared and all are welcome.

Our staff has been reduced to essential hours. The Center is committed to producing the events and programs that we have booked for the rest of the calendar year, which we are contractually obligated to do and which will generate temporary operating funds while following through with our arranged usage. We have scheduled a few events for early 2018, but at this time we have very little operating money to do much else.

The board and office staff are reorganizing, strategizing, and looking at all options with one main focus: to retain our Community Center. As previously announced, we see no other option but to sell or lease Reggae on the River since we no longer have the ability to produce it. Our Reggae team is in negotiations with a promising partner for Reggae on the River. There are no further updates at this time, but we hope to have news we can share with the public very soon. We recognize that Reggae on the River is woven deeply together with our community center and it saddens us to be forced into this situation.

Due to our dire financial crisis we voted in September to suspend the program known as the Mateel Meal. This angered and saddened some people, but our decision to suspend the Mateel Meal did not come lightly and was born out of necessity. The Thanksgiving meal, for which we partnered with the Vet’s Hall, was a success and served approximately 350+ meals. There will also be a Christmas meal on Christmas Day from 12-4pm. We hope you can join us and especially encourage families with children to attend, as Santa will be visiting! Santa will also be visiting the Mateel for the Winter Arts Faire on December 16th and 17th. The event runs from 10am-6pm, and Santa will be there from 1-3pm. The event also offers one of the best artisanal shopping opportunities for the holidays! Please come and support artists and your local community center.

At the November membership meeting, the Board unanimously approved a motion to make the Mateel a venue for the Emergency Weather Shelter. We are proud to support this endeavor.

The Summer Arts & Music Festival is an annual and beloved community tradition – an embodiment of the artistic and creative spirit that helps to make up the regional social fabric. In that spirit, we are dedicated to bringing the community the festival this coming year, but we must ask for your support. Large events can be a risk, but we feel hopeful, as Humboldt County’s favorite music festival, that it will prove to be our mainstay fundraiser and help us address some of our debt. Can we count on you to support your local community center by attending?

For now, as we examine the best way to move forward on many fronts, we are seeking your help with operating funds. We have launched a Mateel Rainmaker Campaign through the Generosity crowdfunding platform. Funds raised through this campaign will be used only for operations:

Mateel staff payroll, utilities, etc. Please visit our Facebook page, our website, search for the Mateel Rainmaker Fund on the Generosity website, or type in this address in your browser: We are happy to announce that monthly sustaining memberships will soon be available – stay tuned for more details on that.

We as an organization must evaluate our core values, mission statement and strategic plan. We would like to invite others to weigh in by emailing to and we would also like to invite you to renew your membership or to join our membership— we are stronger together.

Please consider becoming a Lifetime Member of the Mateel. Visit our website at for more information. By understanding where we came from, what we stand for, and where we hope to go, we can create more meaningful solutions.

Thank you for your understanding, and your continued support through these challenging and shifting times,

The Mateel Board of Directors



  • I heard a lot of comments last year that the ticket price to get in to Summer Arts had gotten too expensive, so many locals refused to attend. This was reflected in lack of sales for the vendors, with most vendors reporting that they had the worse year there ever. As a small vendor, I depend on my festival sales to pay my bills. I understand that the Mateel needs to make money, but if they keep raising the prices on their events they will continue to have a decrease in attendees. As it is I am considering not getting a booth this year, for the first time in more than 10 years, because I cannot afford to lose money.

  • Summer arts is still the most reasonably priced festival out there.
    Look at how much other festies cost!
    We got spoiled with wknd passes for $20-30!! I’d say the thing folks are most frustrated with is the shuttle system, but hasn’t that always been a headache with reggae too?

    Everything’s getting so expensive out in the world and earnings rarely keep up. We have been getting our first tastes of what many others have been facing for years. Its bad timing all around with our industry prices low, cost of living skyrocketing and most likely serious cuts from the feds that are going to affect our county’s coffers.

    Starting today, put a quarter or a dollar in a savings jar, whatever you can do, & do that everyday until summer arts and then no matter what it costs this year you’ll most likely have it.
    We used to grow a plant for a cause, remember? That plants for the schools and another for radio, etc etc.
    Its not worth it anymore to do that I suppose, so get some jars going for the causes you support!

    If we want our center and these events we all need to volunteer our time.
    The older folks are tired, lets rally the next generations to volunteer.
    Take your kids somewhere and volunteer together so it becomes just another part of life for them.

    • All of the younger volunteers for mateel seem to be on an ego power Trip. That’s the mateel beiggest problem in my opinion. Just ego. Not hippies. Just after money. Whatever ideal the older folks had is not at the mateel, it’s elsewhere. And this apology still puts the blame on the community. Take some goddamned responsibility for billowing away so much money due to conflated egos
      From Agnes on down. The mateel represents greed and inclusion and ego at its finest.

    • Summer Arts Rip off You Have lost your way .The complete board needs to step down .Nothing you can say will get our support .

      • the GM in charge of spending did step down, 70% of the staff has been laid off, and 3 board members are replaced annually. of which these board members are doing the job of the GM and 7 employees..would you come rescue the mateel if the board steeped down…i doubt it…i didn’t see “real local” on the ballot this year…mateel forever…

  • Too little too late? I hope not. But it doesn’t really look like they have made any changes with this press release except get rid of the Meal, and to sell the potential biggest money maker they have: Reggae on the River. That seems equivalent to chopping off and arm to repair a broken wrist. Like I started with, maybe it is too late already.

  • You’d think all those big-name Reggae acts who’ve made a name for themselves and have benefited from Reggae On The River over the years would want to come do a Mateel Benefit for free next summer with the sole purpose of wiping out the $600,000 debt burden.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    “All’s I can say, is give us more money!!”

    “Ya, we’re sorry the cash disappeared, OH, HEY, how about giving us some more cash!!”

    Steal from us once, shame on you, steal from us twice, HELL NO!! No more cash!


  • I agree with R Smyth on his last comment

  • Paperwork and Laptops

    It was nice to get an apology and acknowledgement of the severe mismanagement that happened. But…so why do we want to give the same people a bunch of our money?


    “we’re sorry”
    “got more?”

  • Textbook definition of poor management. Do they have a laminate for failure?

  • Sick of your elitist attitude

    Perhaps more orientation to the COMMUNITY and less towards being an entertainment venue. Why do you need endless entertainment at the summer arts fair? When I went, 30 years ago, it was about the vendors and their stuff to sell.
    You think you are “Bill Graham Presents”. You aren’t. You are a small town COMMUNITY center, that doesn’t have a pool table or a juke box so young people have a safe place to hang out. You charge too much and you forgot why.

    • A fucking men. Check out you tube clips from 1991 Golden gate Park celebration for bill graham. You think that many people would come to a memorial for the mateel?

  • The only way for your community to survive will be to let some of the old ways of doing-things die. During this process, it could be discovered that the Mateel may have to die with it in-order for something new to grow. The Mateel was born on an idiology and as some saw it a necessity during a specific point in time. As time goes on as it typically does, things change. Things have to change. One would hope a community that so aggressively pushed their agenda and prided itself in creative thinking would be open-minded enough to except it’s failure and adapt with the times rather than hanging on to an out-dated belief system that’s ultimately riddled with contradictions and double-standards. Those defects are the result of the current situation. Nature has its way of selecting who and what survives. And for good reason. Time to put the Mateel to Bed. RIP.

    • I say bullshit… Community with real members can’t die… Yes change is good. And boy has the Mateel changed in the last 3 months wow…

      • What’s your definition of “community”?
        Is it a cultural ideology?
        That’s what the Mateel is – Don’t get it twisted.

        • Damn straight. Non of those folks running are kind folk. Too bad. Some of the ogs we’re. Some. But most aren’t anymore. Most don’t even grow their own food.

        • “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”
          ..from youth theatre to feeding bums and reggae concerts…cant be more community than that…when i volunteer at the center i see friends, talk to people i haven’t seen in foster arts which is truly missing from our school…but you would have to actually be involved to see community….not just driving to the mall in santa rosa to spend you locally earned money…keep it local keep it community keep it mattel forever…

      • I have to agree @ koast. Alot has changed in the past few months. It’s a cleaner and refreshing change in redway on the day to day. It’s sad that the GM tolerated such terrible people and behavior. He put in countless hours , but none of that matters if you surround yourself with leeches and vipers. And the spending got out of hand under Kremlin I mean krellin and Jennings.
        Always bigger costs to production and cuts to staff and services. Some of the most generous people I know have given soo much to the MCC over the years. And for what?
        Glad the gm is gone. But is he really? Thanks to the board for clearing out that bum party. Keep cleaning house. And good luck. All members should Vote for conservative economics and fiscal responsibility. Anything else will destroy you and or possibly already has. That lady who thinks she was on Broadway Dancing needs to step down. She was at the root of many of these problems. Broadway? Really? Well what happened? What a joke.

  • As the Don would say…your fired!

  • All the qualified folks already served

    Sign your names. The cloak of “mateel board of directors” is vague and really holds no accountability.

    • The information is easily available on the Mateel’s website:

      2017 Board of Directors:
      Garth Epling ~ President
      Dusty Hughston ~ VP
      Eryn Snodgrass ~ Treasurer (interim)
      Anna Rogers ~ Secretary
      Charlotte Silverstein
      Cynthia Martels
      Pleasure Strange
      Megan Gomes
      Marcus Schaible

    • All the “qualified” folks spent the money too…. qualified? pounds were just worth more were no more qualified..go stroke your egos Burner, Crazy Cathie , n crew. You guys were just as , if not more disfunctional.

  • Dishonest and incompetent is no way to go through life.


    Start over fresh. Good Luck!

    Now go after SHCHD, since they are a public agency operating off your taxes.

    • Resignation should not be incouraged until all financials are publicly displayed. Line item by line item. $300k in infrastructure overspending isn’t a boo-boo. That amount of finacial neglagence leans on the side of intentional corruption more than a honest mistake.
      Where’s the accountability, where’s the financial disclosures?
      Once the president cast the financial blame on the “lack of local attendance” it was extremely concerning.

      • Well, you know, it was in cash. If you can prove someone stole, then have them charged…

        Best thing to do is don’t trust them with money, and throw them all out!

        And, it would be wise to do the same up at the hospital in Garberville!

      • Ask the GM..he actually spent it..and was the only constant through the last 4 boards. He counted the cash wit absolutely no oversight, and spent it too. We always got our tickets from sue. Never paid for a ticket in 10 yrs, neither did any of my p-ville neighbors…

  • Should never have let Carol Bruno go.

  • You know, as “responsible” as the MCC Board wants to appear (misdirection), funny the Board did not own it by putting each one of their names to the letter?

    And how about those State required audits from 2014 & 2015? And how about that 2016 federal tax return?

    After having an email exchange with an elected Humboldt County official last week; it appears the MCC has not sent their required State Attorney Generals audit for 2014, as stated back in November by the MCC Board at their Board and Membership meeting (Nov 21, 2017), they went on to say:

    “I just received an email from the Mateel in which I’m told they believe their Auditor had not yet filed the report with the state because they “had just sent payment” for his work. They don’t say when they actually sent the check but it makes sense for the Auditor to wait to file until getting paid. The Mateel seems like a ‘seat-of-the-pants’ operation so unfortunately I am not surprised. I hope they get their act together. A record of filing should be available soon.”

    “Apparently the Auditor also said their 2015 audit should be ready in 2 – 3 weeks. We’ll see.”

    I wonder how many other facts the MCC is keeping from the public, i.e. total number of lawsuits, total amount of financial debt and private loans ($700k) and filing their 2016 tax returns and 2014/2015 audit?

    This information was sent to all the local investigative news journalists, but they seem to busy with other breaking SoHum news stories to ask the MCC or report on it?

    And how about that new Conditional Use Permit (CUP) the MCC will need to reapply for at French’s Camp, since their current 5 year CUP expired after the 2017 ROTR (2013-2017)? Seems the MCC is not telling the public everything, seems they keep allot to themselves. The problem is, the MCC are not a private corporation, the MCC is a tax exempt public benefit and charitable corporation (501c3); all financial records, tax returns, audits and assets are open to public review! Not just the Board, staff or membership, but the general public…

  • Pissed off Volunteer

    The Board of Directors for the Mateel are literal human dumpster fires. Sketchy, thieving, accusatory old men and women that rob the festival and its patrons blind and then attempt to highroad each other while taking huge shits on all of the hardworking volunteers.

    These people should be indicted somehow, they all deserve jail time.

    • I’m not sure which of these many accusations to take on first. So perhaps I’ll just say mildly that many of them are much younger than I am and while I am certainly on my way to being old, I don’t think I qualify yet. Perhaps, you could name a specific issue and the facts that concern you?

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