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02 October 2016

Many Rivers Concert Draws Many Complaints Following the First Day of Festivities

It was a great idea, but poorly executed.

These are the sentiments expressed by many people attending the Many Rivers to Cross Music Festival in Chattahoochee Hills this weekend.

The Many Rivers Facebook page was flooded with complaints from ticket-holders irate at sitting in traffic for hours, not knowing where to go, while their favorite artists performed inside the venue.

"Idea great, artists excellent, but whoever planned the parking and logistics for this event should lose their job!!!," Rhonia Maston posted on Facebook. We sat on a gravel road for three hours trying to get into this event!"

Festival organizers say an accident caused the streets around Bouckaert's Farm to be snarled. Others blame the festival itself.

"They should be held accountable for this mess of an event," Rhonda Olley Irby writes. "I understand this is their first event, but it is no excuse. I paid good money. I was supposed to be able to access the venue and have parking.

"We all need to demand our money back as a group."

This was not supposed to happen. Chattahoochee Hills City Manager Robbie Rokovitz insisted the rural municipality of about 2,400 residents had learned its lesson from the last major music festival to be held at Bouckaert's Farm -- Tomorrowworld.

Rokovitz told Georgia Unfiltered, before Many Rivers kicked off, that a larger contingent of uniformed officers from Chattahoochee Hills, Fulton County, Atlanta and Georgia State Patrol would be on hand during the event to facilitate the flow of traffic.

Susan Tillander, a Chattahoochee Hills resident who runs the watchdog group "Chatt Hills City Watch," says Many Rivers organizers promised at community meetings that traffic would not be a major issue this time around. But Stephanie Richardson tells a different story.

Richardson, a Midtown resident, says the police were as lost as she was; and that after spending three hours on a drive her GPS said would normally take 45 minutes, she turned around and went home.

"We didn't know where to go," Richardson said during a phone interview. "I asked a police officer what's going on. He said, 'Ma'am, I don't know. This is very unorganized. Everyone is confused.'"

Many Rivers is a two-day concert organized by the Sankofa organization and held at Bouckaert's Farm in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. It was billed by promoters as the largest social justice music and arts festival of its kind, featuring performances by Santana, Dave Matthews and many others. Tickets originally sold for $113. Prices, however, were slashed to $40 in the days leading up to the event.