HOLLISTER, Calif. - UPDATE 3/6/2018 6:05 p.m.: The 2018 Hollister Independence Rally isn’t happening this year. Last night, the Hollister City Council voted 3-2 to cancel the event.
According to a Facebook post by Council member Karson Klauer, several factors went into the decision:
“1. The lack of a promoter to plan and manage the rally.
2. A very limited time to plan for the safety of attendees if a promoter did come along. The police department would also have a difficult time securing the officers needed from outside agencies to staff the rally.
3. Another major factor is workers' compensation. The city would be responsible for any costs associated with injuries sustained by personnel from outside agencies, for life.”
We spoke to the promoter, Road Shows Inc., by phone on Tuesday. They said they lost a major sponsor this season and couldn’t secure another one.
The promoter is tasked with securing vendors, handling sanitary needs such as trash pickup and lining up the entertainment. They also pay the city for public safety, with a contract that is normally drawn up by December. Here it is March, and the city manager says they don’t have enough time to secure outside resources to keep everyone safe.
Peter Lago is taking over the historic Johnny’s Bar and Grill in a few weeks. He said the cancellation will hit his bottom line, but would like to see the city put something on anyway, with the expectation bikers will still roll into town the week of 4th of July.
"If there was some sort of event, then would at least be able to monetize it to the degree where they could cover their own expenses, otherwise they're just going to lose money."
The city said the event is supposed to be “financially neutral,” meaning taxpayers don’t foot any of the bill. The promoter actually pays the city for public safety.
While there won’t be anything officials, bikers and businesses are still making plans
"You know if it’s canceled here in town, Corbin will still have theirs and we'll run out there," said Bill Young.
"We're going to be open anyway and we're still going to be doing a barbecue out in the back, we're still going to be doing business as usual and we are still going to be welcoming everybody who wants to come down,” Lago said.
And there’s always next year.
“We've been talking to other promoters and there's other individuals and I'm hoping that we can have something for 2019,” Avera said.
There have been years when the rally was canceled. One was in 2006, then again between 2009 and 2012. Despite no official rally, Avera said the city welcomes bikers to still visit during the July 4th holiday week.
ORIGINAL POST: The 2018 Hollister Independence Rally is not happening this year.
This comes after a 3 to 2 vote by the Hollister city council Monday night. There were several factors behind the city's decision but the biggest one was that there wasn't a promoter.
Road Shows Inc. put on the event last year and they said they lost a major sponsor this year and haven’t been able to secure another one.
Now, the promoter is in charge of putting together the entertainment lineup, securing vendors and making sure sanitary conditions are being met. They also pay the city for public safety and the city brings in outside help from neighboring local, state and federal agencies.
Hollister's City Manager, Bill Avera said they want to get their contracts done by January at the latest.
"The rally for this year is absolutely not going to happen but like I said, we've been talking to other promoters and there's other individuals and I’m hoping that we can have something for 2019. Again this is not the first time we've had a break in rallies, I think we've recovered nicely before,” said Avera.
The rally was canceled in 2006, and again between 2009 and 2012. While there's no official rally, bikers are still expected during the Fourth of July week.
Coming up at 6 p.m. KION’s Mariana Hicks will have more from the future owner of a biker bar, considered the epicenter of the Independence Rally and what he’s planning to do despite no official rally.