Student leaders requested permission to close off access to Randall Avenue near Union South for Revelry, the University of Wisconsin year-end arts and music festival, at a city committee meeting held Wednesday.
The Revelry Arts and Music Festival Executive Committee asked the Street Use and Staff Commission to close Randall Avenue to traffic from 10 p.m. on May 3 to 10 p.m. on May 4, according to Sarah Mathews, Wisconsin Union president and the committee’s chief executive.
According to Josh Levin, operations director of the event, attractions for the arts side of the festival would take place on the closed street.
Levin explained the street would feature film machines and a dunk tank where students would potentially have the opportunity to dunk Lori Berquam, UW dean of students. There would also be fabric hung between university buildings on the street as part of an attraction called the “sky maze,” he said.
The street would also host a DJ booth for student and local DJs, Levin said, which would add to the festival. Additionally, the street will be used as the main entry and exit points for the festival, rather than Union South, he said.
“We want people to see all the festivities,” Levin said. “We don’t want them to enter through the doors of Union South to get in.”
Levin said access to the street for festival goers would model the chute-style used on State Street during Freakfest.
The Revelry planning committee anticipates the festival will attract around 3,000 to 4,000 attendees, according to Levin.
However, Madison Police Department Lt. David McCaw raised several concerns regarding Revelry’s permit request.
“One of the concerns is what will happen if this bubbles out into the other streets,” McCaw said.
Mathews said UW Police Department will handle the traffic around the street and added any police situations inside the event will also be handled by UWPD.
McCaw also expressed concern about the possible presence of alcohol on the street.
Levin said alcohol would only be allowed in Union South and not on the street, attendees under 21 would be issued a wristband on their way into the festival and no carry-in beverages would be allowed.
McCaw also asked the members of the committee about how to manage emergency calls to the area.
“If a crime is committed there has been no discussion of what that would look like,” McCaw said. “It’s important to include that in the traffic plan.”
Mathews said the committee would work with the UW Police Department to allow emergency vehicles access to the street throughout the festival. Randall Avenue is a main access point to other parts of the city, she said.
Members of the Street Use and Staff Commission also pressed for details on whether the event would occur again in the future.
“It all depends on the success of the first year,” Mathews said.
UW administrators view Revelry as an event with a lot of opportunity, she said, and these officials are interested in seeing Revelry become an institutionalized event.