The “Lightsaber Battle" that caused a stir last year at Sue Bierman Park is back, this time with new branding and a new venue.
After Disney’s Lucasfilm filed a cease-and-desist notice followed by three months of negotiation, the company behind the public event, Newmindspace, settled out of court.
“It was terrible. I’ve never been the target of a major corporation like that,” says Newmindspace co-founder Kevin Bracken. “They wanted us to stop doing any events with any lighted swords at all. They wanted us to destroy all of our inventory—we’re talking like tens of thousands of these swords."
They rebranded, calling the gathering “The Giant Battle of Glowing Swords.”
The melee will take place at Spark Social in Mission Bay on December 16th.
Corporate pressure wasn't the only issue. The City’s Rec & Parks Department claimed last year’s unpermitted event cost taxpayers over $5,000.
Newmindspace distanced themselves from the local promoter they were working with to organize last year's event, Nikki Sparks. The Toronto-based company fired Sparks and Bracken says they are now overseeing their events more closely. He had just arrived in San Francisco when we spoke.
Despite that, Bracken says they still dispute some of the claims made by the city—namely, the bill.
“If you look at the invoice, the invoice has an unspecified $2,000 item, and then there is an additional $2,000 for hiring 10 park rangers, paying them four hours of overtime each,” Bracken says. “The unspecified $2,000 seems more like a fine than a cost because the city admitted in that article that they were not doing any reseeding and if you remember, the next event that took place in that park was the Super Bowl concert, after which it was completely destroyed."
Bracken says Spark Social is the perfect venue for the event. “It’s got this awesome field, it’s got a beer garden, it’s got music, it’s got food trucks,” he says.” The best part—no permit necessary.
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