Hold your horses, Michael Jackson fans. The party was on, then off, then on, and now, if County of Santa Barbara officials get their way, it’s off again.
Confused? Here’s the cheat sheet: Michael Jackson’s family wanted to bring him to Neverland Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley for a public viewing on Friday. Then they said it was not going to happen, in part because officials would not let them bury Jackson’s body on the ranch. Simultaneously, the neighboring ranch owned by Ted Chamberlin announced its intent to have “The Michael Jackson, Heal the World Memorial Gathering,” starting at 5 a.m. on July 3 and running through the weekend. They promised music, videos, food, bathrooms, and all the things needed for a “global village,” for the special price of $40 per carload.
But now, officials with Santa Barbara County say that they’re hoping to stop that from happening too. “[County CEO] Mike Brown and Sheriff Bill Brown are both working to make sure this event does not happen,” said Stephanie Langsdorf, an assistant to 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, whose district includes the Neverland Ranch. “They have no permits for anything like this – no special event permits, no permits for parking. There has been no request to Planning and Development for anything like this : There has been no communication with the county.”
But according to Los Olivos-based “destination management company” Releve Unlimited, which is promoting and hosting the bash, the plans are still moving forward. Releve’s Scott Corridan explained in an email that they are working on “getting all the proper permits.” He said that he will send out updates as he gets them, but explained, “Everything on this is so last minute and we’re all working hard to deliver this to the fans.”
So will there be a party or won’t there? Stay tuned.