Annual Allston DIY Festival and Concert Denied Permit to Hold Event

City officials say in the past, neighbors have complained about noise, trash and overcrowding.

An annual Allston music and skill-shares gathering founded on “punk, anarcho-communist, anti-authoritarian” values is in jeopardy this year as organizers try and convince city officials to allow them to return to their usual meeting spot.

The Allston Do It Yourself (DIY) Festival, which has been held at Ringer Park for the last few years, was recently denied a permit by the Parks and Recreation Department because of prior noise complaints, trash left at the site, and a failure to accurately fulfill their permit requirements, officials said Tuesday.

According to Jackie Goddard, spokesperson for the department, during last year’s festival police had “so many calls” that it required officers to meet with organizers after the event to talk about ways to improve the meet-up in the future. But when organizers applied for a permit this year, not only were noise, illegal parking and overcrowding a concern, Goddard says they also failed to tell the truth about the number of attendees expected. “They were low-balling attendance, because previous years they had 1,000 people at the concert. For public safety reasons, they denied the permit,” she says.

In an effort to change the minds of City Hall workers and the police, the brains behind the annual punk-rock centric gathering have begun an online petition in hopes that they can reclaim the space for another year. Repeated attempts to speak with organizers of the DIY festival were unsuccessful.

On the petition website, organizers said:

This year’s festival—should our permits be approved—will be comprised of neighbors, local musicians and artists, Boston Public School students and their families, as well as local organizations and community based charities. If the community can’t use the park, who can—and what is it there for? This is a petition not just for our festival, but for all events in the park.

Goddard says the Parks Department has offered to work with the group to find a more suitable location for the festivities, however, the group instead decided to launch their online campaign. “[On Monday] the Parks Department had a ‘coffee hour’ for residents to come and talk to them, and some of the organizers came to the event and talked to the Parks and Recreation commissioner. The commissioner told the group she would be happy to meet for finding alternative locations, and they still wanted to talk about Ringer Park, and said they would talk about the issue amongst themselves and get back to the department.”

If the group can’t find a compromise with the city, and the event is a bust this summer, local music promoters and Allston residents, like Perry Eaton, say they will be disappointed. “It’s one of Boston’s best events of the year…I’m kind of bummed it’s being held up right now,” says Eaton, who runs the popular blog, which promotes local musicians. “The music is great, it gives small-time bands a bigger stage to show their stuff, but above that there are community organizations, causes, skill-shares and workshops that not only increase awareness about certain things, but show what the young community has to offer. It shows that they care about social and community things. It’s the only place and event in town where those things come together and it makes for a really cool event.”

Eaton says he has high hopes that the rift between the city and organizers of the Allston DIY Fest can make amends to find the best option for the event to move forward. “I know from my perspective there has never been any reason for that event to be looked at as rowdy or too loud, or not playing by the rules in any capacity so I would see no reason why it shouldn’t happen,” he says.


  • penucheBro420

    If you want to stop stuff like this and basement shows, fine, but the city should stop telling people they care about arts and music and stop calling Allston “Rock City.” I’ve been to this before and it’s not exactly Lollapalooza, if there were 1,000 people there it was staggered over the course of an entire day. I can’t remember seeing more than 1-200 there at most. If you can’t deal with hearing music for a few hours on one summer afternoon a year then move out of the city. All the complaints are from one guy. Meanwhile, if you’re an Allston slum lord and your illegal boarding house burns down and kills someone, you get a $100 fine. Hey, they city needs the property taxes that come with the inflated real estate values slumlords bring!

    Can’t wait to get out of this cultural backwater and move to a city that doesn’t try to stifle all artistic expression.

  • Selkiechick

    Other parks… in Allston? There are a couple of playgrounds and the rest is either owned by BU, BC or Harvard.

  • Derek Nexthoule

    Oh wow…this article might need to be heavily edited/updated/ or taken off altogether, I don’t know how you deal with misinformation. Anyone who has been at the fest in the past three years (the first error) can tell you that this article is full of misleadings. Did the Parks Department really cite trash that was left there? I can tell you that the park was in much better shape after the festival the past three years after the organizers spent over an hour cleaning the park! Who from the Parks Dept gave you this information because it’s blatant lies! I’m not an organizer, but I’ve actively attended over the past few years and I can tell you now that the Parks Department seems to have an obvious bias which is causing them to portray the festival in bad light — they’re portraying it as some kind of out of control party where cars drive around on the grass! I can tell you the only cars I saw on the grass were marked BOSTON POLICE as they did their usual rounds.

    This is blatant politics, and it’s sad that our community has to suffer to push the Agenda of those abusing their power.

    Yet another sad day for Boston Culture.

  • Deborah Baker

    It seems so unfair that a wonderful event like DIY is not being allowed to stage an annual event at a park in their community. I have lived in Allston/Brighton for decades and feel we need these types of gatherings to bring our diverse neighborhoods together. Even wiki states, “Allston’s music scene is incomplete without mentioning the DIY community. The annual Allston-Brighton parade and annual Allston DIY Fest feature many of the neighborhood’s musical acts. “ I find all the objections rather moot – every event makes noise; there’s parking at the school (which, by the way, supports the DIY events); there were never more than 100-150 people at any one time. Hopefully those in power can come to some agreement with event organizers and allow the DIY festival and groups gather in Ringer Park.

  • ohio man

    Please ask Jackie Goddard of the Parks Dept. to tell you EXACTLY how many calls were received. I suspect she’s “high-balling” it while at the same time accusing the organizers of low-balling the attendance numbers (as if you need to have a crystal ball to get a permit). Too often the two people complaining ruin things for everyone else. Someone always complains — who cares? If they ran Boston, no one would be allowed outside after dark. Boston should be trying to make it easier to do fun stuff like this, not harder.

    That said, no one’s using the old outdoor theater space on the river in Herter Park, right? That would be a cool location, with hopefully fewer neighbors around to complain.