Mateel Community Center Reveals the Extent of Its Financial Crisis

Audience at the Mateel

The audience at the Mateel last night. [Staff photo]

The Mateel Community Center (MCC) held a public meeting asking for community feedback on their next steps after losing $140k on Reggae on the River 2017.

General Manager Justin Crellin outlined the problem, its history, and potential solutions in a thirty-minute report. This culminated in the dire reality that the Community Center is around $533,000 behind. Half the amount is actual debt and the other half appears to be the lack of funds to operate for the 2018 season.

Crellin said, “From a budget perspective, the discrepancy between the $140,000 loss on the [Reggae on the River] festival and the $290,000 we budgeted to make on the event in 2017 is a $430,000 difference, underscoring the severity of the situation, and in combination with past debt [of $142,000], explains why our current debt load is $533,000.”

The Mateel says there is no possibility of a Reggae on the River event in 2018 without a partner or investor.

Crellin admitted the MCC has already spent the $100,000 dollars it had in reserves. The Board is considering which programs to cut and which to keep with its limited budget. Staff is being laid off and the remaining staff is on “essential hours.” No specifics were given about which positions have been eliminated.

Options for Moving Forward

The top options financially, according to Crellin, are partnering with an investor or leasing the Reggae on the River event to another producer and ensuring the Mateel Community Center’s funds ahead of the event. There are no formal proposals to present to the public at this time because the Mateel is currently developing the confidentiality agreements which are needed before the Mateel can enter detailed negotiations with any potential partner for the event. Crellin does say, however, the Mateel has already received at least two credible offers for this option without having yet released any sort of request for bids. Although the Board does say that decisions may be made as early as next week about the direction the Mateel will take.

Another option is finding 500 individuals, businesses, or families to buy $1,000 lifetime memberships. The Board was notably mute about its enthusiasm to take on such a responsibility, which would historically fall under its duty of “ensuring adequate resources to advance its mission” according to the National Council of Nonprofits.

And MCC’s bottom of the barrel options are selling the ROTR event outright, or taking a loan out on the Mateel Community Center property. If the Board did want to take a loan against the property, it must be voted on by the membership first. When the General Manager turned the microphone back to the Board, Garth Epling said “As a long time volunteer, it hurts my heart to see this downturn. [but] This hall is the asset we need to protect.”

During the public participation session, Peter Houston, a producer of the Northern Nights festival, expressed interested in supporting the Mateel with Reggae on the River. He said Reggae is how he came to Humboldt County and he wants to see it stay local. “We can work together,” he said.

What Happened?

In Crellin’s report, he spent a lot of time explaining how the Mateel Community Center came to be in this position. When the MCC returned to French’s Camp in 2013, the event was financially successful. Expecting the same for 2014, the Community Center was shocked when the event netted half their projections. Proceeds only totaled $178,000 when $358,000 was budgeted.

The Mateel seems to have then taken out loans from community members. Crellin kept referring to “bridge loans” that were to get the agency through the 2015 year. However, MCC has yet to fully repay these loans. “We have only chipped away at them,” he said.

When asked, Crellin and the Board declined to specify to whom this money is owed.

The next two years were strong. 2015 netted $249,000 and 2016 netted $278,000, but the debt from 2014 hung on the MCC propelling the Board into a pattern of using early online sales for the next event to fund ongoing operations.

Other factors played a role in the current budget crisis according to Crellin. Reggae on the River (ROTR) infrastructure required investment including installing new leach fields for a septic system for the kitchen and food vendors; engineering shade structures for the concert bowl; complying with Humboldt County Planning and Building Department permit codes on every structure on the Reggae on the River venue such as the stage and the beer barn; and constructing a rain catchment pond to make water available to the event for dust control and lawn for the concert bowl. And the MCC hall also had major upgrades such as a new indoor stage, an outdoor stage, and building improvements to the hall itself during this four year period.

In 2017, Crellin said, the organization had reined in its budget, reduced its costs and was on track with early ticket sales higher than the past year until the last two weeks before the show. The usual sales spike that happens in the final weeks before a show did not materialize this year. And local sales were disappointing, but the Mateel didn’t know that until almost the moment of the show because local ticket sales tend to occur just before a show. And then the on-site sales were low including the single-day tickets. Overall, the sales were down $312,000 from 2016! Additionally, with fewer people at the venue, MCC sales of beer, merchandise and parking passes were also down.

Where It Is Now

Crellin says as devastating as the poor income of 2014, at $178,000 was, a loss on Reggae on the River was unprecedented, unexpected and a crushing blow to the future of Mateel operations. The Mateel sees a lack of support from the local community and Justin wonders “If the locals don’t come [to ROTR] then who are we doing it for?”

Crellin says the Mateel’s annual budget, including Reggae on the River runs about $2,000,000 a year, that Reggae revenue is around $250,000 a year providing half of the hall’s operating funds. Another $100,000 comes from their number two event, Summer Arts and Music Festival. However, they said Summer Arts is a “risky” venture due to the possibility of rain which, when it happens, keeps people home. When asked, Crellin said revenue from ROTR during the years it was held at Benbow State Park was comparable, in the $250,000 range, but that the Mateel felt it was “a matter of diminishing returns” and that the lack of camping began to work against them.

The Mateel is attempting to look at the loss and what led to it. The line-up is widely criticized. The local and regional economy is in serious flux without a sense of what to expect. People are much busier and have said to Mateel insiders that taking time off to attend Reggae would be a personal sacrifice. Additionally, there are many more festivals and options than when Reggae began on that shadeless river bar known as French’s Camp, including nearby Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

Audience Feedback

During the public comment and proposal part of the meeting, aspects of the Mateel’s lack of local support were revealed. A woman said she was born in Briceland in 1975. She said that upon returning to Southern Humboldt and Reggae on the River after an absence of many years, “I didn’t recognize it as the same festival….I didn’t see anyone I know” at the show, and she said the emphasis on VIP passes instead of families seemed like a mistake to her. And she also said Carol Bruno needed to be given credit because “she knew how to throw one hell of a party.”

Although echoes of these statements are heard around the community, no one else in the hall shared thoughts like these publicly. And the Mateel did not, in its remarks, acknowledge the role history or the role emphasis on income over community may have played in the downturn of the event. Nor were any solutions put forward about how to overcome this. The woman who did draw it out walked away after saying, “Good luck with your Reggae.”

Nonetheless, the true nature of Reggae’s ongoing worldwide popularity and respect was highlighted by Jerry from Burkina Faso in Africa. Jerry reports he had spoken to Reggae Artist Alpha Blondy about his desire to bring tools home to his country, and that Alpha Blondy had told him about the “greatest people in the world” at the Mateel and Reggae on the River. Alpha Blondie introduced him and the Mateel brought Jerry and his Tools for Change to Reggae in 2015 where he was able to collect a shipping container of tools such as wheel barrows, shovels, trowels, shoes, buckets, cooking pots, and other basic items. Jerry said the Mateel is loved in Africa and “we can bring you a lot of music and a lot of variety.”

Only one person thought selling the show outright was a good idea. And she said it very adamantly. No one supported the Board taking a loan on the Mateel Center property. And several people spoke of the need for the Mateel to consciously examine cultural core values and include them in any financial deals moving forward.

A businesswoman said she is glad to do business with the Mateel for Reggae on the River. She thanked the Mateel for not settling for the lowest prices possible and said the Mateel’s support of local business is important for the community’s economy.

That Mateel spends about $150,000 locally, brings about 4,000 people to the area, and generates about a million dollars of economic stimulation with the one event according to Board Member Garth Epling referring to figures from 2015. Part of the money spent includes $70,000 for law enforcement presence.

Agnes Patak a former Mateel Board Member reminded everyone, “it is all about us to coming together. We all need to support each other. The pot thing is going away, but we are still here and we have each other.”

Jimmy Durschlag spoke, identifying himself as KMUD Board President, “I was at our first venue, the Fireman’s Hall, when we chose our name.” Durschlag was also a member of the horn section in a widely popular Southern Humboldt band, Rod and the Ideals, composing a lot of the horn sections for their songs.

Referencing KMUD, he said, “we have always had a cooperative relationship. It is also critical to [KMUD] that you do well. $20,000 of our budget comes from Mateel-related events…. Just like KMUD, the Mateel is a community essential.”

Durschlag continued, saying “these organizations were created because we needed their services.” In this, he included Beginnings, Whale Gulch School, and Heart of the Redwoods Hospice.

Durschlag also said of the current time “[at KMUD] our pledge drives are more challenging. Old timers are tired, are moving away or have died.” He said, “We are going to an awful lot of memorials.” Then, referencing the new comers, he said, “This place is not just about growing pot and making as much money as possible. Communicating that is essential.” He acknowledged he is not sure how to get that message out, but he emphasized the need saying, “We must grow our sense of community.”

What’s Next

The Board did not make any decisions or even comment much last night. There is a special Board meeting next week on the 25th of September at 6:30 pm where decisions are expected to be made. If the membership wants to be involved in those decisions, it is important to be at that Board meeting according to Board Member Garth Epling. Board Member Cynthia Martells added, “The conversation does not end here.”

And the Mateel would like you to know the October 25th Underachiever’s “Renaissance Tour” is now a Mateel Forever benefit show. All proceeds will benefit the Mateel.

Our reporter, Kelley Lincoln, has an approximate 12 year history of volunteerism, employment and membership with the Mateel Community Center.



  • More evidence of a failing monoculture and how it affects everything within it.

    • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

      I’ve been saying that the Marijuana Caliphate is going to be bankrupted…

      This is a positive step towards the last pot grower leaving.

      The dominos are all lined up and starting to fall.

  • Doh!! Fixed. Thank you

  • Maybe, just maybe, no one wants to go hear shit music or be surrounded by drug addicts?

    P.S. there seems to be a copy-paste issue around the middle…

      • Yes, shit music. A meta-genre which includes any genre where blatant hate speech is considered acceptable, or any music where you have to be on drugs to listen to it, among other things.

        • Trillium Hummingbird

          Reggae is not only akin to fecal matter, it’s passe. Reggae is over! Kinda like smoking weed:
          boring, for stupid people, a waste of time…

          • Trillium, you have a point…when I smoke, I do feel kind of boring and stupid. But when I’m being hyper and overworking myself so that I am “productive”, that’s when I actually need to slow down and be boring for a little while . Which, of course, isn’t really boring for me, but would make me seem boring & stupid to someone else….guess which I’m doing right now…lol

            • Trillium Hummingbird

              Good luck with that!

              Be the adult! Be the responsible one! Getting high is pretty much a way to fool yourself into thinking you are ok… Believe me, as I was a smoker for a long time, pot adds nothing, and it takes away much.

              If you can’t escape from drugs or your destructive lifestyle, go to inpatient rehab for 28 days, at St Helena Hospital. It sounds trite, but it is educational, and it will make you see things differently, without the religious message.

              Once again, good luck, best wishes.

  • The locals quit going because what used to be fantastic music, some brews and weed festival, has turned into a tripper’s paradise. No thanks. Used to go every year and quit in 2010. Not into the hard drug scene.

    • No locals? Really?

      If anyone especially Justin reads this who is from the mateel should realize that the 2000 plus locals riding around on their four wheelers if fucking annoying and a loss of money. So that excuse is gone. It’s all the biggest egos that have come out for the mateel, maybe that’s the problem. Agnes, Jonny, all just ego ego ego. P.s. not a trippers paradise at all period no questions.

  • Maybe they can offer a fundraiser buy-out option for people who would donate to the cause but don’t want to go to Reggae? Some schools are doing it.

    • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

      Maybe KMUD should combine their live free broadcast of Reggae with another pledge drive?

      • Maybe they would have better local and last minute ticket sales if they didn’t broadcast it live. Why pay for it when you can turn it on at home for free?

  • The MATEEL has long been an elitist little club…along with the “Community Park” and the “Town Square”.
    These quasi-public clubs are offensive in their lack of service to the real public.
    Where are the town square restrooms? Now we are getting a town square “patrol booth” instead.

  • Bottom line is simple. Great line up people will come. Crappy line up ________________. Been going for over 30 yrs. this year didn’t even consider tickets.

  • Poster formerly known as Matt

    Sierra Nevada World Music Fest has been going for 24 yrs. That’s not a new competing event.

    Outside Lands in SF is though.

    • The MATEEL is way way out of touch with the music scene in America. There are music festivals on any given weekend all over the states, there is no reason to travel to the So Hum to sleep on rocks by a non existent river in the heat. A couple years ago they were trying to increase attendance with no foresight to the future.
      The MATEEL has always been a community center for some but not for all of our community.Weak.

  • Let it go down the crapper like the rest of Redway

  • That Mateel spends about $150,000 locally, brings about 4,000 people to the area, and generates about a million dollars of economic stimulation with the one event according to Board Member Garth Epling referring to figures from 2015. Part of the money spent includes $70,000 for law enforcement presence.

    Do you have something that supports that claim?

    What about the RIVER? What does “Reggae on the River” or the MCC do to help protect the health of the South Fork Eel and it’s home to many threatened and endangered species?

    Why can’t the MCC say why their rainwater catchment pond was empty 9 days before the event started this year?

    Why can’t the MCC provide the required monitoring and reporting documents to the State Waterboard concerning the amount of wastewater they are generating and discarding into leachfields in the watershed, below the floodplain, onsite at “Reggae on the River” every year since 2014?

    How many gallons of water from the South Fork Eel River watershed does “Reggae on the River” use each year?

    • Probably not as much water as a herd of cattle on any given day, and definitely not as much as what gets diverted at potter valley every few hours.
      Lets start addressing the big problems that could actually make a difference. Northern nights uses cooks valley the wknd before, r u not concerned what happens to the river then? Just sayin. Or at the redwood run?

      I would be glad to see the mateel work with the northern nights producers, 2 of whom are a couple that have a production company based in arcata and who met volunteering at reggae. I have heard the other two relocated from the bay to our area to be part of the community.
      They have answered the communitys concerns each time, and have their finger on the pulse of the younger generation while understanding the importance of what the elder generations have put in place.
      I hope the mateel seriously considers a collaboration.
      Bring back more world music!
      Has anyone contacted the marley family &/or other musicians who play(ed) reggae many times and asked for a benefit show? Maybe in the bay area to also remind people ROR is still happenin?

      • World music? How many people are going to be attracted to travel to So Hum for that? The Marleys? LOL. Their father was misogynistic and homophobic and they are flat out greedy capitalists.

      • Well humboldt, I am concerned and I make my concerns known about non-beneficial water use from the South Fork Eel River. In the case of Northern Nights, I have made my concerns known to Mendocino County, since that festival is in their jurisdiction, not Humboldt County.

        As to your “potter valley” analogy or metaphor, Reggae and Northern Nights are on the South Fork Eel, not the Main Eel River you are referring to. So I have no idea what you are talking about, do you?

        The Mateel Community Center (MCC) states in their operation plans for “Reggae on the River”, they are diverting and filling approx 100,000 gallons of water in storage tanks to be used as potable water during the 4 day event and that approx 65,000 gallons of wastewater used for public showers, hand washing, food preparation/cooking and dish washing will be disposed of in 3 different on-site (in-ground) septic leachfields, within the floodplain of the river and the event site.

        I would like to know what is in that wastewater they are generating and leaving behind in the watershed? Since 2013, the public has no idea how many hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater or river water the MCC has used or discarded in the watershed; because they have not submitted the required monitoring reports to the Regional Water Board to comply with their permit.

        Also, I would like to know why the 780,000 gallon rainwater catchment pond the MCC made in 2015 was empty on July 26, 2017, when it was inspected by Humboldt County DEH? What happened to that water, going to be used for dust control and irrigation during the event? Did they use river water instead?

        The MCC does not want to answer these questions, do you?

        • If it hit the ground it’s ground water recharge and is exactly what we need… Slow diffusion of stored water into water table during times of low flow…I looked at their pond prior to their event and there was well over 80k gallons. And the grass and dust control was amazing.thanks for that it made the festival experience that much better…I bring my kids and the last four years have been the most family friendly ever, this current size crowd reminds me of the late 80’s Reggae and I’ve never missed a year… As far as Mateel management structure it needs a major shake up… How the f*** can you keep spending money year after year…. Half million owed… Private no name loans… Wow Shake up time

      • The real truth of the matter is ever since MCC burned People Productions ROTR has been a shit show! MCC screwed the community with their greed for power! Carol Bruno and her team were Amazing at what thy did! They knew how to promote an event and they have the connections to the “REAL TALENT” !!!! The talent is loyal to Carol and wont return to the crooks who screwed the community! The day MCC eliminated People Productions, (Carol Bruno and her team) the numbers in the bank were extremely High $$ in the Positive! It sure didn’t take long for them to drain out the bank and destroy an Amazing synergy that our community had created! It has never been anywhere close to measuring up to what People Productions brought to the table! MCC ought to publicly admit their Greed for power destroyed ROTR and bow down humbly! Majority of the locals like myself don’t want to waste our time for a half ass event! Its too hot, dusty, expensive, and time consuming to commit to that many days for talent that doesn’t measure up! You have a lot of nerve after taking over and mismanaging the funding to our communities livelihood asking us to come to your rescue and bail you out to save it! In my opinion MCC is the problem!!! Why did you mess with a good thing! You screwed us! You have a lot of work to do to right your wrong! Don’t you dare screw us out of our Community Center now too! Clearly as the numbers show you suck at what you are doing!!! Shame on you!!! Humble yourselves and make sure to pass the power over to the proper people to make things right again! I don’t think selling out to folks from the bay area is the solution! Northern nights is a synthetic drug techno nightmare that is mostly made up of NONlocals!!! They are NOT the solution to our problem! Selling out to city folk? WTF??? Wake Up!!!

        • Where’s your solution? You sure do love to sit on your soapbox…blah blah blah , people productions this, Carol that…but where’s your solution?

          • The solution is MCC steps down and hands the power to a promoter who knows how to promote and can bring in talent! Talent worth paying to see! They obviously mismanaged the funds considering there were hundreds of thousands in the bank when they took over. I have done my homework and know the inside story so perhaps you hillbillygirl ought to do a little research or take a comprehension class because I explained this in the previous post but clearly your comprehension level wasn’t up to par considering your still asking for a solution!

            • Your research is very misinformed, and if you were my student you would get an F. When you say “they” spent the money, who are you referring to? Do you even know who you were pointing the finger at?

    • You really do love the sound of your own opinion and thoughts don’t you.😂😂 Ed-ucate yourself before you make and Ed-Ass of your self

    • How did they ever get a permit for a sewage plant on the river bar?

  • Festivals are risky – perhaps ROTR should be open to other styles of music? But the Mateel is a great venue, that should be supported IMHO….

  • not into reggae music lets get a big hit artist out here and watch the money roll in!

    • The Merle Haggard show was the most fun ever! (RIP Merle!) People came from Eureka & from all around for that show! People that had never come to the Mateel before or since. The Mateel needs to bring some more country music venues here.?

    • F&ck [edit]. It must be all the jamacian people around here that has made it so famous here in so hum. Lol. If the system has failed you….change the system. Im still waiting for Metal On The Mattole but with all the close minded hippys that run the Mattel,it will never happen. Reggae = white people paying black people to sing songs about hating white people. Pretty ironic eh?

  • I think the current demographic of Millennials are not into reggae. They seem to be more into festivals such as Outside Lands, Bottle Rock and Northern Lights. These other festivals which are close to Humboldt will definitely put the hurt on ROTR.

  • Thank you, Kelly, for this report. I wish I could’a been there. Especially when the Woman from Briceland mentioned Carol and how ” she knew how to throw one helluva party. ”

    Priceless, and oh, so true. Those were the heydays of ROR. The times when visitors from more sophisticated climes pronounced it “world-class” without a hint of sarcasm in their tone.

    What happened to Reggae would make a good book for a writer so inclined.

    • truth hurts…wow

    • For 24 years the Mateel received a huge paycheck from the community and the production co. The Mateel was in the black and the building was paid off . Then Justin took over ,That’s the facts . Somewhere the local non profits that fed the festival and raised money for every fire dept and school in the emerald triangle stopped going . Mostly because of the fees charged by the Mateel and the festival slowly lost its heart…………. ..Support The Community And They Support you ….This whole thing was about a community fundraiser along with the Mateel …Center Arts wanted to put shows wonder if they still do

    • Bad-mouthing Carole Bruno does not seem quite so mannerly, Miss M.

  • BobtheBorderwallbuilder

    Maybe Estelle Fenelle would like to bring back the money she defrauded from the mateel, she could cover this mishap twice over and still ha e more than half for keeps,..ooops did i just spill the beans again??

  • Sounds like the management needs to be fired .What paper is backing the undisclosed loans ? The building ? State Law all books of this place are public. Where is this private loan ?and From Who?

  • I would sure like to see where these numbers are coming from? If you look at their 990 tax returns, they paint a very different picture:




    They have not made their 2016 tax return public…

    • Thanks, Ed, for posting these items. It seems sad that a “Community Group” can have a tax-exempt business, draw salaries, and freely pocket proceeds at will.

      If they had 2 million in reported income, I have to wonder how much of the cash they collected was just pilfered.

      Let’s see, 7000 paid admissions to “24/7 Drug Party on the River” = nearly 3 million dollars. So a million bucks may have been straight up stolen, just from one event!

      Wow, I thought pot farmers had a great racket!

      • Since “Reggae on the River” is a so called “fundraiser” and tax exempt, the public should be able to see their books. According to the State Attorney Generals Office and Registry of Charitable Trusts, the Mateel has not submitted their required audit to the state AG’s office and are delinquent as a 501c3 organization in California. Here is a copy of the letter. Funny, they forgot to share this with the public on top of everything else…

        • Trillium Hummingbird

          And MCC is not the only “public non-profit agency operating in the dark, on the dark side, and in secret”. SHCHD is just the same, and probably exists as the model for corruption, incompetence, and dishonesty.

          Thanks for your words, Ed, and thanks for attempting to mitigate the bullshit flowing from SoHum.

      • No way there was 7k people… Not even close… Not for any of the last seven years… Maybe for SAT night last year 2016 yes… But no way on any other day… Sorry

        • If you don’t believe it, read what’s called the “Post Event Report for Mateel Community Center’s Reggae on the River Music Festival” that the MCC is required to submit each year to the Planning Commission for 2014, 2015 and 2016. They are all public records and the MCC should be able to make you a copy.

          In all three reports, it stated:

          “This included 6500 ticket holders and 2500 staff, volunteers, performers and vendors (comps).”

          The MCC does not breakdown or account for how many 4 day, 3 day or single day tickets they sell.

          Here is the 2017 report for 2016 “Reggae on the River”:

  • So much money circulates through this organization. I see no benefit to the greater community.

  • Corruption and incompetence are not coincident with successful process.

    Why is everything in SoHum operated like this?

    Thanks, Matteel! You are all fired!

    Get some new board members, then I might help!

    • Also, it is amazing that a charitable organization in an extremely rural area supports large salaries for its managing staff. The Mateel has numerous employees.

      Obviously, the jig is up. You have paid yourselves too much money! And you stole the rest! Usually in business, when the owner steals too much he needs to sell out! Quick! I believe this is called reverse decapitation, or some damn thing.

      I know! You could do like SHCHD did after the board and the administrators stole too much! Have an election to enact a property tax!

      Yeah, that will work!

      If your community does not support you, you have failed. Time for a new board, fewer paid employees, and new management!

      Crooked is as crooked does. The Mateel is a good example of what not to do… And please stop feeding those bums!

  • I miss the old Fireman’s Hall, the Mateel’s parent. I guess those vibes are gone.

  • Crellin says as devastating as the poor income of 2014, at $178,000 was, a loss on Reggae on the River was unprecedented, unexpected and a crushing blow to the future of Mateel operations. The Mateel sees a lack of support from the local community and Justin wonders “If the locals don’t come [to ROTR] then who are we doing it for?”

    That’s kind of a good question, what was the answer?

    How many non-profits attend ROTR and use it as a fundraiser for their organization?

    After looking at the MCC tax returns, the one expense that stands out to me is salaries. How many people does the MCC employ?

  • Mattel priced all the locals out of the ROTR years ago. Does it HAVE to be a world famous event? Why not drop back to a nice, local festival with lower prices for locals. And the Mateel won’t tell who they took loans from? That’s a red flag…maybe it’s time for the whole Mateel concept to go away and make a REAL community center…

  • No locals? Really?

    Ok I’ll say it again. All the arrogant locals on four wheelers are not paying to be there, it’s just an ego ride. Agnes, all these people talking about themselves on a stage, and lying. 2000 plus volunteers that’s just redic. It’s these pot growers that think they understand the live music scene because they make money growing pot, but that festival really sucks.

  • What normally happens when a corporation that is making decent money year after year and then starts losing big money (Relatively) the people running the show are dumped and/or resign. Obviously Crellin needs to go and anybody else (Board of Directors? Financial person?) need to go too. He should have stepped down at this meeting. How much is he getting paid? He failed… BIG! The buck stops at the top. Quit or be fired.

    • When our for-profit corporation was facing reduced income my partner gave himself a pay cut and I laid myself off till things picked up.

      Perhaps some of the Matteel management needs to consider a similar approach. Yeah, it would hurt but…

  • Reggae should have been pivoted into a more mainstream contemporary music festival a long time ago. The Mateel must market what sells, and intolerant, christian cult music is not inclusive enough. It’s too narrow a market. A three day festival with blues, rock, jam, techno, jazz, maybe even some country, and reggae. It should also be said that Reggae Rising helped destroy the brand.

  • Wheres PB?

  • Who cares where PB is? No one.

    Scooter that’s truth. To Carol and PB and Dimmick and all the blind sycophants that signed on that rip off fest shame. What a divisive chapter that was. Yet the Mateel endured and won. They healed and even prospered. Still I’m bummed it’s gone down the tubes now. RIP ROTR.

  • Loved the Rock N Reggae Fest! David Lindley and El Rayo X…Rod and the I-Deals were a great local band, etc. Yeah I was there working security those years up until the first year we sold out all the tickets. That was cool times and a fundraiser and I also drove up from Laytonville a few times to help build the Mateel because it was OUR hall to have good music times in. Everything turns to shit over time but I gotta say Ego Ego Ego was the worst killer of all. These last 10 years or so it was not possible to get a day pass- had to scam a pass from a “volunteer” and we all know that system was dirty and of benefit to nobody but a local power tripper delight. Or you had to buy an expensive 3 Day pass. No single day for us locals who had ONE day to chill between work commitments. Right there was when you lost me, denied me that “community vibe” you kept selling to L.A. And yeah- Dimmick and covering up rapes and dirty hard drugs and foul mismanagement of all kinds. It has become a shit stain not any consciousness-expanding celebration of my community. Can’t say where it went wrong? Because it went wrong in so very many ways. Kill it now. Sell the site to somebody who is hopefully less crooked and more professional. You have too many parasites sucking on that tit and that tit is looking nasty….Also- Our poor river!

    • “These last 10 years or so it was not possible to get a day pass- had to scam a pass from a “volunteer” and we all know that system was dirty and of benefit to nobody but a local power tripper delight. Or you had to buy an expensive 3 Day pass. No single day for us locals who had ONE day to chill between work commitments. ”

      That explains the locals not supporting it. Clearly.

  • So, Ed Voice, you tried to destroy the community park and now are after the Mateel?
    We built our beautiful community center from nothing and we don’t want it to fail! Reggae on the River may have to change, but let’s stop pointing fingers and find solutions. It doesn’t benefit anyone to bring up the distant past. RoR was thriving for years. All the festivals have done poorly this year. People just don’t spend the money the way they used to. An alliance with Peter and the Northern Nights crew seems like a good idea, for example. Or bring it back to Benbow, lower costs and more family friendly.

    • Trillium Hummingbird

      Um, I don’t think it’s Ed who destroyed anything…

      The above descriptions of the violations of the permit, the accounts of folks on quads popping around, and the continuation of the existence of this tired fluff festival, mostly put on for growers to scam on babes, and for everyone else to just get as fucked up as possible, these stories only make me even more likely to leave for the weekend every year. SoHum culture does not need these “charities” and something about the folks in this area leads to continuous thievery, and a total lack of respect for everything.

      It looks like the Mateel got away with the cookies, and for a long time, but now, the idea that citizens should just pony up more money to be misspent, unaccounted for, and overpaid to those in charge, well this idea just stinks, just like Measure W.

      Don’t give them any more money! Demand accounting! Force compliance with state and federal law. Everyone needs to demand that the current gang of crooks resign or be fired.

      Just like SHCHD, the Garbervile water and sewer districts, and all the other agencies and “non-profits” and schools in SoHum, the corruption needs to end, and all the dug in locals who toady to the big-money ranchers and growers, need to go forward, evolve, and accept failure. The people who make their living staffing “public agencies” and “charities” need to find another way to support themselves. (Thieves usually manage to find something else to raid…)


    • So, Ed Voice, you tried to destroy the community park and now are after the Mateel?

      Reggae on the River may have to change, but let’s stop pointing fingers and find solutions. It doesn’t benefit anyone to bring up the distant past.

      Eel River, Let me ask you; is trying to protect the river and the wildlife habitat it supports less important? All I do is show people the facts, the facts that the MCC & SHCP fail to share with the public.

      The MCC has known about me and my objection with “Reggae on the River” and its effects since before the SHCP scheme was conceived. I was hoping it would stay at Benbow, but nope!

      Southern Humboldt isn’t the wild west anymore, you need to check your guns in at the front door now! Leave the river alone and abide by the rules, regulation and laws that protect our South Fork Eel River! If you don’t like it, change the laws!

      And just because I educate the public about the MCC or SHCP does not mean I an trying to “destroy” anyone or anything, they need to follow the laws, not side step them or ignore them altogether for the sake of making money. If you cannot make money without harming the watershed, then find another way to make money, its that F’n simple…

      • Why don’t you become an advocate for our local businesses in town and start getting rid of all the trimmigrants. You know, the ones that actually shit, eat and sleep on our beautiful river from July to November.

        • Hillbillygirl, you mean the people that come for “Reggae on the River”?

          • No ED, I mean the ones that come for light dep season harvest in July and August. And how about the ones that are laying all around town as we write this . Go get em Ed.

    • It’s important to point fingers. Too much sketchy financial stuff going on. Not enough details. Missing paperwork, and tons of money unaccounted for. The entire board should have resigned at this meeting. The arrogance, and ignorance, of this group of dimwits is just astounding.

  • Worked down there this year and the shuttle drivers were bragging and laughing about how they had been driving through the river all weekend to get in the back way. Didn’t seem very environmentally conscious to me. I know what kind of fine we would get for that s@#$. One Love

    • I was there too and what you say is impossible…. The only time I saw a vehicle in the river was last year when Bowman tried to drunk drive his truck across the river at 1am and got stuck, it was truly amazing to watch him struggle in the dark with some oversized quarry equipment hammered trying and pull it out before it got sweep down river. No way a shuttle van made it across the highest August flows in years. As for me I don’t want scary drunk armed psychotic bums hanging out infront of our community center. Fix that and I’ll return to the hall

    • Your driver is/was full of shit. There wasn’t a road big enough for him to cross. Don’t believe everything someone tells you.

  • I stopped going to Reggae because they had filthy toilets. Rent more of them.

  • When Local Non Profits That fed the event and raised money for every school and fire dept in the Emerald triangle stopped coming due to the huge fees charged by the Mateel . The festival slowly lost it’s heart . Support the community and they support you . When Justin took over the event the Mateel was in the Black and the building was paid off . Looking at the tax returns they never made any money any year and still owe payroll taxes late in Dec every year .Center Arts approached Justin to put on shows he said no it would be in competition with the Mateel . Justin must be let go he has run the mateel into the ground

  • I guess I’m the lone contrarian here. OK.

    Go back to the roots of what made it good. Make it small and local again. Bigger doesn’t mean better.

    Remember this? “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

  • Concerned citizens have an opportunity to confront the Mateel board and management at the meeting on Sept. 25. Fiduciary irresponsibility of a non-profit may not be on their agenda, but one could certainly raise that issue. The law requires non-profit organizations to be financially transparent.

  • I heard that Justin Crellan was offered by Center Arts, HSU, to partner with their agency so they could bring the performing artists to our area to perform their gig @ Van Duzer one night , then perform @ Mateel and 2nd night. It was said Justin turned such deal down because.”HSU, Van Duzer is in competition with the Mateel.”
    I go to very few shows any more at Mateel after being a stalwart volunteer since day one. I also don’t like to go to HSU for the shows much any more though thay offer way more bands and such I want to see because the shows are so short there. After driving and paying big bucks for a seat (No Dancing either @ HSU), I’d like a bit longer show.
    Hope something can help save the Mateel to be more diversified and be more user friendly, because pretty true, it is always going through some cliquie phase, and often it depends on “who one knows” on their experience there anymore.
    ALos th eold adage, Putting all one’s eggs in one basket is never a very good idea.
    It seems th etotal financial expenditure of ROTR maybe should have been being looked at over the past 5 – 8 years with so many added expenses and looking to keep glorifying an event that lost a lot of luster with the first big ROTR war in 2006 – 2007. Bending to the agencies like CHP and Insurance companies flies so in the face of why Mateel was built in the first place that now bowing to their every wish and demand rankles me. ie 4 days d/t traffic/CHP and added permitted structures insurance la-la-la. I don’t mind supporting Local CHP but insurance companies IS NOT who I want the proceeds to benefit!
    What’s the harm in cutting it loose, making it smaller if you must continue and looking for other ways to generate revenues. IMHO, Mateel has already chnaged the flavor of Summer Arts Festival to reveal ROTR which I find pretty unpleasant to attend these days too.

  • My first Reggae was when it was one day. I can’t count how many times I have been to it. Its fair to say I grew up on Reggae on the River. I was born in Garberville and moved back to Humboldt on purpose.

    The idea of a musical Mateel fundraiser in the summer seems like part of Humboldt, to me.

    I realize this is a forum where everyone is watching, so everybody wants to get their jabs in. I understand and expect that from both or all sides. I would like to see more helpful suggestions though.

    Lets not kid ourselves, since way back Reggae has been a “trippers paradise.” Who’s fault is it the river has dried up? No one that runs Reggae on the River. Safe structures/ permits/insurance and security that is friendly to the cause cost money. No way around that. The past few years have felt much more like the old irie vibe that had been chased away by the hard drugs of a few years back. I’m no insider, but I thought there was only $16,000 in the coffers at the beginning of the reggae wars, and one of the reasons for them. I thought we were over that?

    Reggae music isn’t a reason to go camping for 4 days, to me. Maybe I don’t want to go camping at all, now that I have been to other grown up festivals. Also, how about mixing it up with some other genres that a lot of people around here like? Also, why 4 days? Whats the reason to get bigger and bigger? A smaller festival that reflects what we want to go to seems more doable. ROTR does draw business to the area and support local causes. So we need something. Our annual summer fundraiser should be a celebration of our local values, efforts, and features. So what are those?

    That will help us know where to steer next.


    NEWS FLASH…not everybody likes it

    Speaking as a “local”…I hate the music, I don’t like the traffic snarls, I don’t like the large influx of people, I don’t like the noise…

    Screw ROTR…I’d rather hear a “Battle Of The Bagpipes” than one more damn reggae song.

    BTW…has anybody consulted a qualified financial advisor..?

  • One point about locals not coming: why pay for it when you can listen for free on KMUD? Has the Mateel considered the live broadcast (and of course the webstream) as a possible reason for loss of local ticket sales?

  • the festival needs diversity in music. Sponsors should book bands that create community. Re brand the event and perhaps look to have a few more shows ( based on Budget ). There are bands out there that would make the venue a money maker. for example Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, Phish to name but a few. Locals should get a break……..a good break on account of the impact hassle factor. Perhaps reach out to some musicians and create a benefit show to get out of the hole or for a specific cause . The venue is truly special and I think musicians appreciate natural setting like the rest of us. As a non profit the center should promote this more as a give back to the community event rather then a Reggae event. Take the weed connotation away. Granted weed will still be smoked ( and all the rest ) but one might find the attendees a bit more diverse and conscience about more then just a weed fest in Humboldt. You have all heard of Electric Forest Festival. What about Redwood Forest Festival?

  • Something to think about; the “Reggae on the River” Humboldt County conditional use permit, State Water Board wastewater discharge permit and seasonal bridge/crossing permit were all 5 year permits (2013-2017), so they would need to re-apply for all of them again. Which means new Planning Commission hearings, public comment, consultants, studies, Planning Department Staff Reports and a new updated Environmental Impact Report, which together = allot mo’ money.

    You know, at Benbow State Park, they did not need to get any of those permits or the cost of new infrastructure. I wonder how much all that cost back in 2013 just to go back to French’s Camp? I wonder how much all that is going to cost again?

  • This is meant as constructive criticism.

    Most of the music just isn’t very good. Most, not all, is overly commercialized reggae without much soul. It’s more about being a Fest than about the music itself.

    & People are sick of cheesy Reggae.

    No day passes.

    Hottest time of the year.

    The Summer Arts Fest has gone downhill as well. Most of the music just isn’t very good.

    & People are sick of cheesy Reggae.

    It may pay off to have several smaller events a year. Classical- chamber music, NEW rock, World, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and even Country or Alt. Each of those genres has a loyal following. Which bands have the best smaller following? You could be known for having very good bands that may or may not have a good marketing angle. If the music is consistently good and appeals to connoisseur audiences then people will travel distances to get here. If the music is consistently good then people will also come for a show without knowing the band more often.

    Money will be tighter and people will be much less inclined to go to a show unless the music is good.

    Maybe it would be a good thing to hire someone to ONLY listen to music and find bands who are good and would play. Someone who isn’t hired because they know everyone or are cool or dominant in the community or whatever. Someone who can listen to many genres and check on other festivals- their attendance, dates etc. The bands the Mateel is hiring are just kind of bla. Hire someone with good taste in music & let them focus on drawing talent.

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