Steve Rohrer booked the bands for "Ranchita Rocks," a three-day event at which 40 bands will play. Concertgoers are encouraged to camp out on the 160-acre Golightly Farms Ranch between Warner Springs and Julian. Rohrer's mother and owner of the ranch, Carolyn Morrow, is co-promoting the show.
"We went through the entire permit process with the sheriffs," says Rohrer, 37. According to Rohrer, sheriffs approved of his plan to pay $4000 to a private security company that would provide 12 guards each day.
"Then they came back at the last minute and said that we had to pay the sheriffs $6700 just to have two cops on Friday, four on Saturday, and four on Sunday.... They said, 'Oh, you're having beer.' They made us pay almost $7000 extra just to pay them so they could come work [the event] themselves. We told them four months ago we were having beer."
In a September 5 Union-Tribune article, sheriff's sergeant Tom Evans compared the concert to Woodstock and said the event would have "angry music for angry people."
"If [Sgt. Evans] was bad-mouthing the type of music from a white band, just think how he would deal with black artists.... Because of what the sheriffs said, I called the NAACP...[because] two of my headliners are HR [of Bad Brains] and Fishbone [which has black band members]. I am worried about their safety because of what they said in the U-T article."
Rohrer says the purpose of the concert is to raise money to pay legal fees in the fight against SDG&E's proposed Sunrise Powerlink, which would run through the ranch. If the plan goes forward, 150-foot-tall steel towers will suspend transmission lines from the Salton Sea to Del Mar.
Ranchita Rocks tickets cost $25 in advance, $40 on the day of the show. Rohrer says beer will cost $6 a cup; water, $1 a bottle. Twenty-four portable toilets will be available to the 1000 to 2000 people expected to show.
Because it would be hard to put a fence around the ranch, how does Rohrer expect to prevent people from walking in?
"That's one hell of a hike," says Rohrer. "You have to bring in a pretty good load of water and know your way around Ranchita. If you are bad-ass enough to walk on, then you deserve to get in."
Local bands on the bill include Vegitation, the Blackbirds, Haywire, Teflon, Jalopy, the CHI Club, Grand Canyon Sundown, a Dull Science, and Compass Rose.
"We have a DJ tent and a comedy camp with comics from L.A.," says Rohrer. "I'm already booking Ranchita Rocks for 2008. The Powerlink won't go away by next year. Everyone out there in Julian, Warner Springs, and Ramona is behind this. No property near Ranchita has sold in a year because no one will buy out there if they think this [electrical transmission line] is coming in."
Ranchita Rocks (www.ranchitarocks.org) takes place September 28--30.