Devils Tower rejects Daft Punk's bright idea for concert

2014-02-26T06:00:00Z 2014-02-27T19:20:21Z Devils Tower rejects Daft Punk's bright idea for concertDaniel Simmons-Ritchie Journal staff Rapid City Journal
February 26, 2014 6:00 am  • 

It was a plan that would have used lasers to illuminate the nation's first national monument, attracted as many as 50,000 people, and starred one of the biggest names in music.

But it wasn't to be.

The National Park Service said Tuesday that it has rejected a proposal by Daft Punk, an electronic music group renowned for elaborate live concerts, to host a show on private land adjacent to the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

Reed Robinson, superintendent for Devils Tower National Monument, said an agency representing the group, ICM Partners, approached the park in the fall and the park officially denied the request on Jan. 31.

Robinson said the park consulted with six Native American tribes about the proposal, all of which generally agreed that it would be a disrespectful use of one of the country's most sacred Native American sites.

"No event is going to be occurring in Devils Tower," Robinson said. "Anything that was proposed is a non-starter, is considered an adverse action according to the National Historic Preservation Act, and goes against the Park Service management approach."

Robinson said the request was highly unusual for the National Park Service. He said ICM Partners appeared to be scouting locations across the world for a concert or multiple concerts to be held around the summer.

He said the agency was particularly interested in using lighting equipment, like lasers, at the base of the park's 1,300-foot rock tower.

"This being a night skies park and a natural park and a sacred site to 24 different tribes, that would be considered sacrilegious and gets into that 'inappropriate use'," Robinson said. "And that meant maybe we would have to close portions of the main trail to facilitate this kind of stuff."

The agency also indicated that it wished to host as many as 50,000 people at the concert site, owned by rancher Odgen Driskill, about half a mile away from the monument.

"I don't know if that's logistically possible given the location of Devils Tower, but given that they won four — maybe five — Grammys, they might have been able to do it," he said. "I'm not sure."

Robinson said as discussions with the agency continued through the end of last year, it grew to understand the significance of the site to Native Americans and that the proposal was unlikely to be permitted.

Daft Punk is an electronic music duo from France that rose to popularity in the 1990s. At this year's Grammy Awards, the group earned five awards, including record of the year and album of the year.

[Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect a clarification. The proposed concert site is on private land adjacent to the monument and the lasers would have been placed at the base of the tower.]

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(9) Comments

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    MONTSTER - March 04, 2014 10:09 am
    We were heathens at one point. But we keep our respect to our beliefs and earth. never never land? Its a simple show of respect to people when they asked tribal leaders. Everyone wants respect but dont want to give it. i dont think they were thinking of themselves in the decision. It was a good thing for them have some consideration. people wouldnt have to fight if there was simple line of respect for one another.
  2. InyanZuzechan
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    InyanZuzechan - March 03, 2014 12:53 pm
    I'm glad we have people like Reed Robinson in positions like that. His consideration to contact tribal leaders was the right decision. In spite of the swift replacement of many people's customs and cultures with empty consumerism, we of the Oglala Lakota still practice many of our traditions. As hard as the ignorant few try to dismiss our ageless beliefs, we are still here.

    Many I have met who are not Lakota know how special and powerful Mato Tipila is.

    I know, how about we have a P_ssy Riot concert at a church? I'm sure those girls could use some income after spending two years in a concentration camp.
  3. calio99
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    calio99 - February 27, 2014 10:27 pm
    and thats why its gonna stay never never land. fly over country is looking more like a reality each and every day unfortunately. but hey we got deadwood! woo hoo
  4. sodakdave
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    sodakdave - February 26, 2014 11:05 pm
    All the sturgis bikers riding there on Wednesday during the rally for the ham n jam is really respecting a sacred site too.
  5. Observer
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    Observer - February 26, 2014 2:34 pm
    Do it at Rushmore. I've never heard them but I would probably go for the show.
  6. Celtgunn
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    Celtgunn - February 26, 2014 2:00 pm
    Psh, maybe come to the Black Hills, Rapid City... See if there is somewhere here in town that they'll let Daft Punk do this. I'm willing to bet that they'll let Daft Punk come here and perform! I'd love to go to a concert and see them!

    So silly that everything is so sacred and not touchable. It's just a laser show for gosh sakes, it wouldn't have harmed a darn thing. -_- Silly people!

    ~Blessed Be
  7. diskless
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    diskless - February 26, 2014 11:36 am
    Being a Native American I would want attention drawn to our monument.
  8. RobertN
    Report Abuse
    RobertN - February 26, 2014 9:57 am
    Pretty much all that needs said. ~ "Robinson said the park consulted with six Native American tribes about the proposal, all of which generally agreed that it would be a disrespectful use of one of the country's most sacred Native American sites."
  9. StopProgStop
    Report Abuse
    StopProgStop - February 26, 2014 8:40 am
    Wouldn't want to do anything cool. That would be against our values up here in never-neverland.
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