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Meanwhile, across the festival grounds, Frank Gabel, owner of the Hideout Bar and Grill in Gladstone, Missouri, also had a temporary permit and was selling 3.2 percent beer, just as he had done the year before.
Despite Gilley's assurances that with people bringing coolers, no one was going to make money off beer sales, the Masons in the lodge also sold beer last year.
Gilley's insistence on keeping the Street Blues Festival a BYOB event has kept customers happy, but it's now the root of his legal trouble.
In 2009, the Kansas Legislature amended the Kansas liquor law to allow local governing bodies, such as the Unified Government, to issue ordinances granting temporary permits to sell alcohol for consumption on unlicensed premises at approved special events. (Wichita had proposed the amendment so it could hold festivals, such as the annual Wichita River Festival, where people are likely to buy a drink and then cross a street or walk down a sidewalk within the festival grounds.)
Before the amendment, it was illegal to drink on a sidewalk, street, alley or other public right-of-way, festival or no festival.
Despite Gilley's block-party permits for his years on Third Street, no one had been legally permitted to drink on public property. But drink they did.
As for the years at 13th Street and State, when Gilley had temporary permits, people could legally bring their own alcohol, but they couldn't drink on the street. But drink they did. As the holder of the permit, Gilley had been responsible for any violations. Fortunately, no one had ever been arrested at a Street Blues Festival.
In fact, the extent to which city enforcers have ignored the Street Blues Festival is almost absurd.
At the April 29 meeting, Gilley explained that each year, he bought a block-party permit to close off the necessary streets. Each year, he called the Mayor's Office, the Police Department, the Fire Department and Public Works before and after the festival to make sure no one had any complaints.
In 2000, Gilley said, he went to the city license office at Indian Springs Mall to inquire about what permits he would need to put on his music fest in the street. He was told that a block-party permit would cover it.
"I find that hard to believe," said Deputy Chief Counsel York.
Gilley was shocked when informed that his festival had been on shaky legal ground except for the Kaw Point Riverfront Park year (because alcohol laws are different for events in parks).
"These aren't new laws," York said. "They just haven't been enforced."
City officials suggested that Gilley had options, but all of them were weak: Move the festival back to the park, where it tanked in 2006. Have it at 13th Street and State, but keep people off the street and buy event insurance, which would probably exceed the entire festival's budget.
Gilley complained that the task of keeping everyone who was holding a drink out of the street and the alley would be "the biggest baby-sitting job."
The hourlong meeting ended with no solution in sight.
"To me, that was them saying 'no,'" Gilley said as he left City Hall.
Even if he could find a way to plan a festival that would comply with the laws, Gilley would have very little time to raise enough money to make it happen.
And this time, the 7th Street Casino didn't appear willing to help.
Gilley's supporters suspected that the casino didn't want to play if it couldn't be the sole source of beverage sales.