Euphoria Files Suit Against County

Euphoria claims county restrictions on fest hinders business

Levitation music fest at Carson Creek Ranch (Photo by John Anderson)

Organizers of Euphoria Music & Camping Festival filed a lawsuit against Travis County late last week, alleging that the county does not have proper jurisdiction to limit or otherwise dictate the hours in which a mass gathering held outside a municipality may operate.

The festival, put on by EMCF Partners LLC, argues that county commissioners erred in passing new regulations to the mass gathering permit process (see "Fests vs. Farms," June 5) that require events to shut down at 11pm Sundays through Thursdays, and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. Euphoria learned that their effort to extend those hours would be restricted in 2016 – its third year holding the festival at Carson Creek Ranch in the Airport Overlay Zone 3. However, EMCF states that Texas counties must have a legal basis for action that's rooted in either a statute or the Constitution before it makes any such change. "No such basis exists under current Texas law," writes EMCF. "Therefore, the Travis County Commissioners Court cannot regulate Euphoria's hours of operation."

Those tracking potential changes to the permit process through the summer likely could have seen some sort of legal filing coming. Precinct 3 Commissioner Gerald Daugherty even predicted as much before commissioners voted in August, suggesting that the county lacks authority to impose such restrictions and predicting that a district court would rule against the county if afforded the opportunity.

Euphoria's chief reason for filing the lawsuit is that the restrictions put a significant hindrance on its ability to do business. "Euphoria cannot fully complete its headline and direct support contracts until it knows the hours of operation," it wrote. "Travis County's limits on hours would limit the number of hours of featured entertainment during the hours the consumers of such events expect, a significant percentage of whom have traveled from out of state to attend. The hours would further limit the music from the campground stage that operates after the close of the main stage entertainment, further diminishing the enjoyment and attraction to this event that its consumers have come to expect from Euphoria and its competitors."

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Carson Creek Ranch, Gerald Daugherty, Euphoria Music & Camping Festival, Travis County, EMCF Partners

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