They were calling the event ”A Family Reunion,” but the Grateful Dead have a very large family. The two-day concert in East Troy, Wisconsin, which would have marked the first time the surviving principals of the band have performed together since Jerry Garcia died seven years ago, was booked into a venue that seats 35,000 people, but local officials told the Associated Press they estimated that as many as 200,000 Deadheads would show up — more than the town can handle. So the Walworth County Highway Committee voted 4-0 to turn down concert promoter Clear Channel’s request for a concert permit.
”You can imagine the amount of humanity that’s going to converge on little old East Troy in Walworth County,” committee chairman Odell R. Gigante told AP. ”We only have 80-some sheriff deputies. Short of bringing in the National Guard, we just couldn’t handle it.”
The concert, called ”Terrapin Station — A Grateful Dead Family Reunion” had been announced for August 3 and 4 and was to feature several jam bands and headlining performances by surviving Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh (who have performed together in various incarnations as The Other Ones but not all onstage at the same time). Clear Channel has not commented on the panel’s decision, but County Attorney Michael Cotter told the AP that the promoter may choose to call another hearing and present more evidence to make its case for the permit, or even sue the county. ”I’m sure they are not going to go away quietly,” he said.