The Dam Jam bid for Lake Afton rejected by county commissioners

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday denied the bid for The Dam Jam Music Festival to be held at Lake Afton this summer.

All of the county commissioners voted no after several minutes of discussion.

Commissioner David Dennis told KSN the reason they voted no was because of the resources needed, though there was concern about one of the acts, Wheeler Walker Jr., whose music is not family-friendly.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said in the meeting that while the law enforcement at the event will be off-duty officers paid by the promoter, not the county, a major incident would draw on-duty officers away from their regular beat.

“I’m not saying we can’t handle the event, because we can, but when you mix alcohol and everything else that society seems to take these days in an event that could draw 9,000 people, we could have issues responding and maintaining the safety out there,” Easter said.

Commissioner Jim Howell told KSN that while he was concerned with Walker’s music, he would consider changing his vote if they were able to come back with a proven way to have resources available.

During the meeting, Howell said he was perturbed when he did a search for Walker’s music.

“I am bothered a little bit,” Howell said. “I heard about this particular act, and so I went and googled their name, and some of their songs popped right up, and I just did a quick search for the lyrics, and I am telling you they’re X-rated. I couldn’t read them in front of you today if I tried. They wouldn’t be allowed on TV.”

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Howell did say he was a big proponent of the First Amendment but had a “moral objection” because of the possibility of children being at the concert.

“I guess my concern is this is a taxpayer-funded venue, and as far as I understand, correct me if I’m wrong, this is not an adult-only event,” Howell said. “There could be young children there, and, in fact, I expect there will be.”

CJ Wilson, the Dam Jam promoter, said the festival allows for re-entry until 8 p.m., and they scheduled Walker’s show in a way that people could leave the grounds and come back if they are uncomfortable.

“I think that we’re trying to provide something that’s fun and entertaining,” Wilson said. “That’s exactly what we want to do. He is pretty silly, I will admit that, but I don’t want to maybe look into something that would make a change to that. You know, we have spent quite a bit of funding for these acts and we choose a lot of direction in choosing them, so I don’t know how we want to look at that, what we need to do.

“We want to meet all of your concerns and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to have a family-friendly event,” Wilson said. “But of course, we don’t actually market to families. We want a destination location for people and travelers to be able to come to this area.”

Wilson gave the following statement to KSN when asked for comment:

“No comment at this time, we are evaluating all options, and we will get back to you after consulting with our attorneys. Thank you.”

The Dam Jam was scheduled to take place from July 18 to 20.


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