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"We started two years ago as a tiny little thing with, like, four bands. We drew about 20 people."

Gage Herrmann, 19, plays in Ramona indie-rock band Ersatz Dime. His band organized the 2003 and 2004 low-key, free-admission Ramonastock, an outdoor music fest at the Ramona Community Center in Collier Park. This year's Ramonastock was supposed to be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., featuring 18 local bands. Tickets were $8 in advance, $10 day of show. The all-age, no-alcohol event was expected to draw a crowd of over 500.

"Our friend Chris Baby quit his job in February just so he could put it together," said Herrmann. "Two weeks ago he told us they canceled it."

Herrmann said Baby obtained permits. "He talked to everyone at the sheriff's office and the Ramona Water District [which controls the Ramona Community Center]. They said everything was cool. And then this lady from the water board said anything over 300 [people] would be a fire hazard. Then they specifically said metal bands can't play."

What would the Ramona Water District consider a metal band?

"The only real heavy band is Forgotten Alibi. They are more like a hardcore punk band."

Questions were directed to Joani Jeorgeson, a Ramona Community Center volunteer. Jeorgeson faxed an editorial from the Ramona Sentinal that said "everyone involved a few new tunes called cooperation, communication, and advice," but did not address Baby's charges that he had to deal with last-minute mandates.

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