Hearne: Star Foments Bogus Rockfest Controversy

A single pissed off parks commissioner does not a widespread panic make…

“Rockfest mess angers officials,” reads the headline in today’s Kansas City Star. “…A parks commissioner wants the yearly concert to move.”

The implication being that officials at Penn Valley Park and Liberty Memorial are furious over the muddy mess left by the 50,000 or so attendees of this year’s Rockfest, hosted by Johnny Dare and radio station 98.9 The Rock.

That’s not the case, says longtime parks commissioner and civic sparkplug Bob Lewellen.

“This has happened before and it will happen again – and not just with this Rockfest group,” Lewellen says. “It’s no big deal. These parks are easily healed and the company that puts on Rockfest, AEG, is very responsible. In 30 days you won’t even know they were there.”

The single source for the Star story was incendiary parks commish Aggie Stackhaus, an on-again/off-again public official known for blowing her stack.

Lewellen says he spoke with the parks dept. this morning after reading the Star story and nobody was up in arms over the damage.

Outside of Stackhaus.

“Aggie’s just putting on a show and if you catch her right you can get a reaction out of her,” Lewellen chuckles. “It didn’t surprise me that Aggie reacted this way and it didn’t surprise me that the Star wrote (the story) that way…You know, Aggie has been a city council person and the (parks) commissioners have a lot of power. And to get a commissioner to say something like this was a coup for the reporter. But what was wrong was they said officials instead of one official. That makes it look like everybody down there is ranting and raving about this thing and that’s not the case.

“And we all know Aggie sometimes talks very forcefully before maybe she analyzes the situation,” Lewellen says delicately. “And maybe later she’ll come around with reason. But if you catch her early, she sometimes will say things that maybe she wouldn’t if she thought about it.”

A spokeswoman for the parks department says Stackhaus is no longer granting interviews but emails flooding in, in the wake of the Star story have been 95 percent in favor of Rockfest continuing at Penn Valley Park.

Hey, why not, Lewellen says.

“It’s a great source of enjoyment and that’s what the parks are for. And it’s a tremendous source of revenue ($50,000 each) for the parks department and Liberty Memorial. I guarantee you, even by Memorial Day the sod will be in and to the eye it will look fine. Rockfest is not the only one we rent to and a lot of the time there has been rain and we take care of it. This is (just) grass and it’s easily repairable if you have the money. And these people have the money and they’re obligated to fix it.”

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10 Responses to Hearne: Star Foments Bogus Rockfest Controversy

  1. Anonymous says:

    KCMO staffer
    Aggie is a major pain in the butt, she should run a small church not a city. She was a loud voice in getting bars to close early in mid town years back, she was against anything close to fun. She is considered a major dork by everyone other than her voter do gooder monkey’s in her district. There will be RockFest next year and in that park.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Aggie, get a life please.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Brian Rush
    Killjoy, thy name is Aggie!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shut up, you old bitch.


    50,000 Rockfest attendees.

  5. Anonymous says:

    dio fan
    Actually, The Star story had three sources, including the one upset official.

    Your story has one named source.

    HC: The Star only had one complainer in the story, yet described it as officials plural. Bob Lewellen spoke to parks and was told this was business as usual and AEG was good for the fix. I spoke to another parks person who confirmed the 95 percent emails in favor of Rockfest. I interviewed yesterday the Liberty Memorial spokeswoman who felt comfortable things would be put back in order by AEG as usual. It’s part of a larger story, which is why I didn’t include her comments here.

    Look, I know how the game is played. The reporter and her editor wrote and edited the story. A copy editor proofed it and wrote the bogus headline. Nobody else named or unnamed in the story reflected Stackhaus’ view. So other than who Aggie can or has now stirred up, this is probably not going to go much further in real life terms. The parks and WWI folks are happy getting $50,000 each and confident AEG will fix things. WWI will be renegotiating their deal for Rockfest for next year, so we’ll see where that leads.
    HC II: Kudos to the Star for recognizing a copy editor’s mistake in writing the inaccurate headline and running a correction in the next days paper explaining the error.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sad, that this is even a story. Holy Shit how cornpone have we become?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Independent Rage
    The Star’s headline would have been better if it had managed to work in a “Stackhaus Blows Stack” reference. Blown opportunity.

  8. Anonymous says:

    and of course this huge story is right up
    hearnes alley…way to get the story hearne

  9. Anonymous says:

    Scott Simon
    Stack the Hack. Nice ring to it. It fits.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Star confirmed today its headline was bogus and incorrectly stated that “officials” were upset about Rockfest when only one – Stackhaus – was complaining. A correction under the headline “Rockfest headines,” ran on page A-8 of today’s Star.

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