Workers have begun clearing trees and brush at La Benite Park in Sugar Creek, making way for a Labor Day weekend country music festival that the organizer says will draw around 20,000 people.
The Tumbleweed Country Music and Camping Festival is set for Sept. 3 and 4. Headliners include artists Rodney Atkins and Chase Rice, but Doug Bordegon of Borda Productions stresses other attractions as well.
“We want to lead with the country experience,” he said.
In addition to camping, those attractions include hot-air ballooning, helicopter rides, bull riding, zip lines, canoeing and shopping.
“There’s really a lack of country experience nationwide,” Bordegon said.
The company has signed a five-year deal with the city to hold the event at La Benite.
“Depending on how it goes, we might extend that,” Bordegon said.
He said temporary facilities will go up for the events for now but that eventually permanent ones might be needed.
Sugar Creek Mayor Matt Mallison said the festival – the same weekend as Santa-Cali-Gon Days in Independence – will bring much to the area, filling hotel rooms and sparking other business.
“This is a tremendous opportunity not only for our city but for Independence and all the communities around,” he said.
The land being cleared – Bordegon said grass will be put down – is a generally unused part of the park south of the levee. The river side of the levy is the most-used part, with parking, benches and a short nature trail.
“It’s a beautiful park. It’s underused,” Bordegon said.
The company is having a 15-stop talent search – it starts next week at Kanza Hall in Overland Park – and the winners will play at Tumbleweed.
Bordegon is looking for big things.
“We expect 20,000 (visitors),” he said. “It’s a major national draw, not just Kansas City.”