The City Council may not want to risk cancelling Rage Against the Machine, the alternative rock group coming here Wednesday, but if they do, many residents say they'll support it.
A rally at the city park organized by Shelley Matterson expressed some residents' own rage against the booking of the group but acknowledged that fairgrounds manager Steve Money, who scheduled the band at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds, did so in error."He's devastated," said Ann Banks, daughter of Mayor Marie Huff. Banks said her mother had been subject to verbal attacks by residents who called the mayor, wondering how the controversial group could have been booked to appear there.
Huff and council members contacted by The Deseret News expressed dismay that Rage Aganist the Machine is coming here but have taken no action to prevent it. However, a hastily enacted policy change will avoid the booking of "questionable" groups in the future without knowing more about them, city officials say.
Following the two-hour rally, residents decided that safety issues offered the best approach to canceling or delaying the performance. Aaron Mackley said he would head a group to attempt to meet with the council in a special session by Tuesday to explore alternatives, including postponing the concert over safety concerns. The council doesn't meet in regular session until after an estimated 8,000 concertgoers have come and gone.
Matterson said that challenging the concert on moral grounds would result in more anger. Meanwhile, petitions residents have been circulating committed people who signed them to contribute $10 toward the cancellation. But one person pointed out that if every household in Spanish Fork contributed it would raise only $46,000.
Estimates on canceling the band run from $80,000 to more than $300,000.
Residents wondered why the council couldn't take money from other tax-supported programs, including recreation programs, to cancel the group.
Less than 50 people attended the rally, which disappointed orga- nizers, and no city officials showed. Two police officers stood by. Matterson said the City Council and Huff had been invited, but Huff had a prior engagement.
Most residents expressed fear that the group - known for its loud music and rough lyrics - was coming to Spanish Fork. Tash Johns urged the council in absentia to "take the bold stand and cancel the concert. We will stand behind them if they take this stand of courage," she said.
A brief exchange took place between residents opposed to the concert and a small group of teenagers who favored it. Mackley challenged them to draw up their own petition in support. "Let the majority rule," he said.
Residents said they feared the lyrics that will be heard well be- yond the fairground's wooden fences as well as the rocker fans that would be there and the potential for injuries that one man who favors the concert said would likely result. Others expressed concern about lawsuits that could result if someone is killed or injured during the concert. They also fear a discrimination lawsuit if the concert is canceled.
Rage Against the Machine reportedly provides its own security, but Spanish Fork police officials say they will also be there in force.
Matterson said the issue had at least one positive: It caused many residents to realize they need to be more aware of what is going on around them. Mackley said he would be attending City Council meetings to stay abreast of city issues.