Never before has the death of an alpaca been so consequential.
A Texas community is up and arms over a Live Nation and Insomniac-produced music festival that brought with it traffic, loud music and apparently caused the death of Lord Lucas, an alpaca with an apparent pre-existing condition. Citing this list of grievances, a Texas community has voted against allowing the festival to return in 2018.
The first-annual Middlelands Festival in Todd Mission, Texas took place May 5-7 with over 60,000 fans in attendance at the Texas Renaissance Festival grounds. Throughout the four-day event, Todd Mission residents placed multiple calls to the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office to complain about traffic and excessive noise.
Adding more complaints to the pile, a local rancher has claimed that the music festival killed her alpaca, Lord Lucas. Lynn Betts, owner of Tejas Alpacas, said that a necropsy from a veterinarian claims Lord Lucas’ cause of death was “persistent and loud bass” from the festival. The alpaca, one of Betts’ junior herdsires, apparently suffered extensive stress due to the music prior to his death.
The Tejas Alpacas farm is only a half-mile away from the festival grounds. Betts has been raising the animals there for over 14 years.
In a quote provided by Live Nation, Insomniac organizers said they had “personally dealt with Lynn on site, every night over the phone and worked with sound engineers to fix the sound overflow to her house. The alpaca was already ill…”
The Call of Booty pirate group, which frequents renaissance fairs and helped set up after-hours events at Middlelands, has started a GoFundMe campaign to help Betts. In less than a week, over 90 Middlelands patrons have donated $2,000 in honor of Lord Lucas and delivered the donation to her in early June.
“We cannot know for certain if the noise from our music festival contributed to Lord Lucas’ death,” said Call of Booty member Kyle Peltier. “But as a group of festival patrons we felt like we were part of the local Todd Mission community while we were there, and we wanted to reach out and help our neighbor.”
The loss of Lord Lucas will set Betts back several years in regards to breeding and will not be able to bring a new alpaca to her farm until the weather cools, she explained to The Navasota Examiner.
“It was incredibly humbling to see their response and I want them to know I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Betts told the local paper. “A lot of the people in the area may have gotten a bad impression of the patrons from the Facebook postings but they didn’t have to do this – they did it because they wanted to and they felt bad I had lost Lucas and there are some great people there, there were a few bad apples, but there are with anything like that.”
The Texas Renaissance Festival, who worked with Live Nation, C3 Presents, and Insomniac, has declined to host the event again in 2018.
After Todd Mission residents voiced their complaints at a town hall, Texas Renaissance Festival released a statement saying, “TRF is always looking for new ways to bring fun and magic to the Houston area, which is why we partnered with Insomniac, C3 Events and Live Nation, to create the Middlelands music festival on our grounds. Middlelands was a great success and brought over 60,000 people to the area from all over the country and the world. However, after a meeting with executive leadership and based on Texas Renaissance Festival’s overall mission, we’ve have made the decision to not move forward in hosting the event again.”
Pasquale Rotella, Founder and CEO of Insomniac, released the following statement:
“We were very surprised and disappointed by the decision announced by the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) to no longer host Middlelands (MDL) at the Texas Renaissance Festival Fair Grounds. From the beginning, MDL producers set out to create a safe and enjoyable experience for both attendees and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods, with hopes to stimulate the growing local economy. Contrary to news reports, the producers of MDL traveled to Houston for the Town Hall meeting but were subsequently told it was cancelled by TRF officials. We fully appreciate the beauty of Todd Mission and the nearby areas, and were prepared to implement residents’ feedback in order to transform MDL into a valued community event. An astounding 66,000 guests attended the inaugural MDL festival, with many sharing their positive experiences. To our fans, rest assured we plan to return.”
R.I.P. Lord Lucas.