By Rachel Brown Hackney
An Aug. 15 party planned with DJs on the sandbar in Big Sarasota Pass — announced late this spring on Facebook — never happened. The proposed event had raised more questions than answers.
A business called Elemental Soul Productions located in the Tampa Bay area originally said on its website that it was following up its Treasure Island SIN Beach Party in June with this new event “on the beautiful Big Pass Sand Bar surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico …” The Siesta SIN Party’s Facebook page pointed out, “You NEED a boat/yacht/water cruiser for this one! This will be a ticket event. More details to come!”
The Facebook page also noted that the event would begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m. As of June 19, the page indicated that 180 people were planning to attend, even though the party was going to be on the Tuesday following the first day of the 2017-18 school year in Sarasota County.
The tickets, which were available through ticketgateway.com, were advertised at $10 for general admission, the News Leader learned.
The Treasure Island SIN Beach Party was held on June 20, based on that event’s Facebook page, which also provided this information: “Beach Day at Treasure Island! Bringing out the DJ gear to just have a chill day with alcohol, vibes and industry folk. Take a breather from the weekend and soak in some sun! We also have a special deal just for us on the Freestyle Slide right next to our setup spot. BOGO all day! Publix is right across the street. Parking is $2/hr and credit card ONLY. Bathroom facilities only feet away. I will have a generator going to supply power all day! Make sure you bring business cards! Let's all NETWORK!!!”
The Facebook page for the Siesta Key SIN Beach Party pointed out that five DJs were signed up to perform: Luis Martinez “(Tribal, Latin, Tech House)”; Yewplay “(Top 40 Remixes, House, Tropical)”; DjCardinal Albury “(Reggae, Dancehall, Soca)”; Jeff Haze “(House Music)”; and MPSoup “Born in South America (Venezuela) ….. worked with Tourism for more than 10years, Graduated from Culinary School in Davie FL, Photographer since 2002, moved to Tampa in 2007, started DJing Professionally in 2008, Today MPSoup plays at the most known venues in the Greater Tampa Bay/Clearwater/St. Pete area, bringing from Open Format, Top 40, EDM, to any unconventional/underground genre required to uplift any crowd, specialized in Corporate Events, Weddings and Theme Events (Marathons, Fashion Shows, Charity Events, City Events, Latin Parties etc.).”
Additionally, the Facebook information said that the organizers wanted to clarify how they could charge for the Siesta event, since it was going to be off the shore. Their response was, “This is still a public sand bar. We do not have exclusivity to it. To that I am hosting this event in accord to the Service Industry people as a day of good music and professional networking. Sure there are free bands that play on this sand bar all the time, 10% of the net ticket sales will be hand delivered to Siesta Key for Beach Care & Wildlife Protection even though they aren't asking for one penny. I have been in direct contact with them and any and all fees/permits if required will be taken care of. I will keep an honest [and] open tally for everyone to see … what the final figure is along with me meeting with them to show just cause.”
On June 19, the Facebook page continued, “Also remember we're supporting Siesta Key's Save Our Sands fund to protect and maintain Big Pass Sand Bar!”
The Facebook page added, “For everyone following this event this is the movement I'm supporting and a portion of the ticket sales will be donated back to Siesta Key as a thank you from all of us that attend. Save Our Siesta Sand [SOSS2] http://www.soss2.com/”
When Peter van Roekens, chair of Save Our Siesta Sand 2, was contacted, he had no knowledge of the event; the organizers had not contacted him.
It is possible, SNL speculates, that the organizers read about the Party on the Pass held May 13 as a means of publicizing efforts of SOSS2 and the Siesta Key Association to prevent the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass for the renourishment of South Lido Key Beach. That event is held on the sandbar, with people invited to come by whatever watercraft they choose to use. However, no admission is charged; instead, donations are welcomed.
SNL tried repeatedly to contact Elemental Soul Productions, but it never received a response. The publication was able to find just an email address for the business; no phone number was provided.
After Siesta Key Association (SKA) directors learned about the planning for the party, Vice President Catherine Luckner was able to reach Marcus Anderson with Elemental Soul Productions, she told SNL. He wrote her in an email that the organizers had completed the paperwork for a Temporary Use Permit from the county.
Then Luckner contacted Carolyn Brown, director of the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, to find out whether Brown was aware of the event. Brown evidently was not, but she let Luckner know later that she had asked Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson about it. Thompson had heard of the planning for the party, Thompson responded to Brown in an email. Thompson added in that June 23 email, “Code Enforcement was going to contact the event planner and discuss. I believe that the Sheriff is aware of the event. Last time we had an event such as this, in working with our Environmental Protection Division, it was determined that these waters were within the State’s jurisdiction and enforcement was not the County’s responsibility.”
When SNL asked for comments in early August from the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, county Media Relations Officer Jason Bartolone confirmed in an email what Brown had conveyed to Luckner: “Staff from the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and Planning and Development Services departments are aware of the event and have been in contact with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.” He did report, however, that the organizers would need to apply for and obtain a Temporary Use Permit from the county for such an event.
Bartolone added that staff understood the party has been cancelled.
By Aug. 1, SNL was unable to find any websites or the Facebook page originally linked to the Siesta Key SIN Beach Party. A Google search turned up the Facebook notice that the event had been cancelled “(for now).”