Transcendence Festival can't transcend city's permitting process

While Sacramento buzzed all weekend about TBD Fest, another inaugural gathering was being broken apart: Transcendence Festival. 

City police arrived to the three-day festival at Camp Pollock on Saturday night, citing fire code violations and permit issues. Police spokesperson Michele Gigante said about 700 to 800 people were gathered and dispersed peacefully by Sunday morning. 

Transcendence was the first-time effort of James Kapicka, a former Folsom yoga studio owner who previously helped organize the Lucidity Festival, a sort of small-scale Burning Man that ran in Santa Barbara for two years. Kapicka announced the shut-down on the event’s Facebook page Saturday and defended the festival’s permits:

The team that worked so hard to bring this event to you made sure that all the T’s were crossed and the I’s dotted…we are saddened that local law enforcement felt it necessary to cancel the event, but this was not due to any error on our part.

Camp Pollock lists a requirement on its website that the venue will take care of all special event permits. So when Kapicka received paperwork from Camp Pollock, he assumed everything was in order. But when police arrived, they “didn’t recognize the permits,” according to Kapicka. 

Typically for city special events, a festival producer would need to apply for entertainment permits through the City of Sacramento. The city would then contact the fire department to inspect the festival site, ensure there are safe entrances and exits and make other recommendations. 

Apparently none of that happened. City of Sacramento Fire Department spokesperson Roberto Padilla said the fire department never greenlighted the festival grounds. 

“No one in the department even knew about this,” he said.

Padilla also said there might have been a large bonfire at Transcendence, which would have required a separate permit. 

Kapicka has no hard feelings toward the cops, who walked around and observed the yoga and live music. “It was clear they weren’t happy to be shutting it down. They were just doing their jobs,” he said.

Kapicka is already pulling together a team for next year’s Transcendence though, which most likely won’t be held at Camp Pollock. 

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