© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bridgeport Suing Gathering Of The Vibes For Police Overtime

Cooper McKim

The city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is suing the Gathering of the Vibes, the four-day summer music festival that’s run for years at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park. The city says its organizers owe them at least $500,000.

Gathering of the Vibes first came to Bridgeport in 1999. Over the years they hosted big names like Elvis Costello and James Brown.

But the festival started as a tribute to Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia, so their meat and potatoes was jam-band music – like what you'd hear from David Grisman.

Grisman was not an official member of the Dead, although he jammed with them, recorded extensively with Garcia and played the iconic mandolin part on the band's classic "Ripple." Grisman played at the last Vibes in 2015.

“I hope you enjoyed the music, we’re gonna leave you with one last tune here,” Grisman called to the audience last year, before launching into "Ripple."

Organizers cancelled this year’s festival, but they said they’d be back in 2017. Then in January, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said the festival owed the city hundreds of thousands in overtime for police who worked the show.

Russell Liskov, an attorney for the city, says, “You never know what’s going to happen at a festival like that, lotta people. And we have a duty to ensure that there’s law and order, and in their lease they are required to pay for the outside police overtime. They have not paid for that.”

Liskov said the city hasn’t been able to get in touch with the organizers since they found the debt.

“The records are pretty clear about what we incurred and what we spent. It’s pretty black and white. I wish the Vibes people would get in contact with us to figure out what we could do to settle the debt.”

A representative for Gathering of the Vibes said organizers had no comment at this time.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.