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Regional News

Indie Soul Festival Organizers Say Apology From Springfield Officials Is 'Disingenuous'

A screen shot of a video and city entertainment permit posted to Facebook by an organizer of the Indie Soul Festival in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Screen shot
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Facebook
A screen shot of a video and city entertainment permit posted to Facebook by an organizer of the Indie Soul Festival in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Organizers of a music festival in Springfield last month, which was erroneously shut down by police, are dismissing an official apology from the city.

Several police cars showed up at the Indie Soul Festival at Riverfront Park on August 21st and tried to get a few hundred people to leave when there were still two more hours of music scheduled, according to festival organizers.

The festival is in its 13th year and had a city entertainment permit.

An apology from Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood was issued about 10 days later. It's disingenuous, said Robert Jones, an Indie Soul Festival board member.

It wasn't just that police tried to shut the event down, Jones said. He said the behavior of at least one officer was out of line.

"She was berating and yelling and screaming at patrons at the Indie Soul Festival. There were officers standing around, including a sergeant, and no one addressed her or tried to calm her down,” Jones said.

Even after a city hall meeting last week, Jones said he and others still have lots of questions about what happened.

City Councilor Tracye Whitfield has requested to see the police body camera video from the event.

Asked for further explanation of the festival confrontation, Sarno's office did not offer any further comment beyond sending a copy of the apology.

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