By Jeff Wells
Globe Staff Writer
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. - The organizer of a rock 'n' roll concert planned for Saturday canceled the event after talking with city officials, but vows the show will take place next year.
"I apologize sincerely that I didn't have all my ducks in a row, but next time I will," Brian Cleveland, the promoter, said Wednesday night.
Cleveland, a Carl Junction resident, had announced plans to hold a benefit concert Saturday in his back yard at 304 N. Roney St. He said he wanted to help his neighborhood which was devastated by the May 4 tornado.
The party never had the city's approval, City Administrator Joe Barfield said Wednesday. "He has no permission and is not connected to the city," Barfield said.
Barfield said he met with Cleveland Wednesday and questioned him about the event's liability insurance, provision for toilets, security and traffic control, and was not satisfied with his answers.
"He just doesn't understand the legal requirements of doing it," Barfield said.
Cleveland faced being cited and/or arrested if the event went forward without the city's blessing, Barfield said. "He has no permission to start a block party or anything else at that location," Barfield said.
Cleveland said his neighbors and hundreds of other volunteers were ready to make the concert a success.
"A lot of people are upset that this event is not going to happen," Cleveland said.
Radio advertisements for the event said the free concert would start at noon Saturday and feature several bands, with donations accepted to benefit the Carl Junction Relief Foundation.
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Barfield and other city officials said they questioned whether the foundation was a legitimate non-profit corporation.
Charities soliciting donations in Missouri must register with either the secretary of state or attorney general. The foundation does not appear on the attorney general's Web site list of registered charities.
Spence Jackson, spokesman for Secretary of State Matt Blunt, said the foundation is not on file with that office either. Cleveland said that his attorney is preparing the proper paperwork and it will be filed before he conducts a concert next year, possibly near the one-year anniversary of the tornado.
The foundation is not associated with the Jasper County Long-Term Disaster Relief Committee, another group working to help tornado victims, said Debbie Ducommun, the committee's chair.
Committee volunteers are currently calling on more than 100 families trying to determine whether their needs have been met and are planning their own benefit event in October. She said she wants donors to realize the committee is recognized by the government and national charities as good stewards of donated money.
"I think it is important that people know that these resources are being used in the most responsible fashion possible," Ducommun said.
Cleveland said the foundation's board planned to distribute the funds it planned to collect after those residents needing assistance applied for aid, but did not yet have specific eligibility criteria. "We were going to seriously check it out," he said.
Cleveland approached the city about conducting a similar event soon after the tornado, Barfield said. Carl Junction rejected the idea because recovery work was still under way, he said.
By Jeff Wells