Daniel Rudnick wants to turn 255 acres of fields along Interstate 5 near 7th Standard Road into a place that can host massive festivals with 65,000 guests.
But he’s going to have to wait until early October to find out if the Kern County Board of Supervisors will give him a chance.
On Tuesday, supervisors voted to continue a hearing on the project to Nov. 7.
When the item does come to the board it will face opposition from agricultural landowners that surround Rudnick’s venue location and a nearby 25-acre commercial project with a 120-room hotel and restaurants — which has already been approved.
“We want to create a dedicated venue for large music and arts festivals,” Rudnick said.
Farmer Bill Tracey told supervisors he’s in opposition.
“This is a good concept in the wrong location,” he said.
“We think it’s a great project in the perfect place,” Rudnick said.
Jacqueline Anderson said she’s a huge fan of the kinds of festivals Rudnick is hoping to host.
“Kern County is the best place to have a festival,” she told supervisors. “It does bring in a lot a money to the hotels and motels and restaurants.”
Opponents are worried about the large number of people moving in and out of the project during festivals, interruptions to their agricultural operations and possible conflicts between pesticide applications and festival-goers.
Rudnick said he's offered to coordinate with their schedules and purchase insurance that would limit their liability for pesticide drift.
He had originally proposed a permanent facility with up to eight four-day events each year.
After the Kern County Planning Commission voted against it, he said, he reduced the proposal to a three-year temporary facility with three events a year — two in the spring and one in the fall.
If the events are a success, he said, he would come back in three years and ask for the festival venue to be made permanent.
"I want the opportunity to prove we can pull this off," Rudnick said.
He said he believes he can make the venue the best of its kind in California.
Also Tuesday, supervisors voted to appoint Andie Apple as the next Kern County Library Director.
Apple has been serving as the interim Library Director since December and is well known as the developer of the One Book project, the Summer Reading Challenge and Lunch Program and other library programs.
“Andie Apple is a proven collaborator and passionate voice for literacy, libraries and learning and we are fortunate to have somebody of her caliber, experience and community ties in leading the Library,” stated Supervisor Zack Scrivner in a press release.
Apple told the board that “probably anybody who knows me knows that public libraries are my passionate and purpose in life.”