We’ve now heard more from Bob Holman about his announcement that HOWL! Festival, an East Village rite of spring, has been postponed indefinitely.
In a phone interview this afternoon, Holman said that each year the festival’s organizers first reach out to the city in October of November to make concrete plans for the following spring. “We’ve been trying to crack the bureaucracy with Tompkins Square Park and the Parks Department. This time they were not forthcoming,” Holman said, citing lack of a timely response from the city. “What little support we had in the past seems to have dried up. It’s been a drag.”
Holman said that the Parks Department did request a map of how the park’s land will be allocated during the festival. This proved problematic because HOWL! Festival has no pre-existing template, and Holman said they would have to hire a graphic artist to make a drawing to meet the city’s specifications.
“They’re looking for a more vendor-driven, shut-down-traffic event, not an arts gathering for one of the art capitals of the city if not the world,” Holman said. “It’s been very frustrating.”
Also, according to Holman, the Parks Department is looking to charge the festival organizers more than it has in previous years to hold the event. “We already pay for all of our use in security and garbage.” He continued, “It seems like a crazy way to gouge the public.”
This week, “we’re going to talk to the de Blasio people,” Holman said, although he was not sure if or with whom organizers had scheduled an appointment. He hopes that the festival will take place sometime this fall, but it’s possible that it will get pushed back to 2015.
Holman said he feels like the festival is being penalized — and not celebrated — for bringing such a large number of visitors downtown. “So maybe we should say we have fewer people coming?”
We’re waiting to hear back from the Parks Department and will let you know what they say.