City approves Blues Brothers cannabis festival

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2022

NILES — A highly anticipated summer festival has received the green light by the Niles City Council.

The application for the inaugural Blues’d and Infused cannabis music festival was approved by the council Monday night with a 6-1 vote. Council member Georgia Boggs was the dissenting voter.

The festival, set to take place Saturday, Aug. 20, was approved with the contingency that Niles Public Safety Director Jim Millin determines that “all conditions and all rules are followed” and that the event’s sponsor, Float, pay a $5,000 deposit.

The event, which will feature a Jim Belushi and Dan Akroyd Blues Brothers concert, is co-sponsored by Belushi’s Farm brand of cannabis products, as well as Highway Horticulture Productions. Event sponsors will be responsible for all costs associated with the event.

The festival was announced in June before being approved by the city. According to Mayor Nick Shelton, events typically must be submitted and approved by the city 60 days prior to the event, which in the festival’s case was June 21.

“They’re serious about advertising and headliners, they should have known there’s this thing called June,” said council member Gretchen Bertschy. “You count backwards from the 60. I feel like asking for a serious deposit makes us look like a serious community that would like to be treated seriously and not see last minute moves.”

The application requested the use of Riverfront Park south, near the French Dam, as a location for the festival. Millin has been told that event planners anticipate roughly 3,000 people to be in attendance.

While council members voiced their concerns regarding the security of the event downtown, Millin reiterated that the police department would have the situation under control.

“This is contingent on (the organizers) working with police department staff,” he said. “Leading up to the event date, they have to agree that we may pull the plug if we feel they have not met all of the criteria that we feel has to be met in order to have a safe event.”

Council member Travis Timm believes the event may not draw as many people as anticipated due to its ticket prices.

“From what I’ve seen, these tickets are quite expensive. I think they start at $150,” he said. “For me, I just don’t see it getting that crazy because of the price. I may be wrong but I don’t think the average person’s going to pay $150 for it.”