Several cities have said the organizers of a traveling Christian music festival didn’t obtain permits for their events over the past month.
Officials in New Orleans; Tempe, Ariz.; and Nashville, Tenn., have called out the organizers of the “Let Us Worship” concerts and protests held in their cities for not obtaining permits before gathering crowds of sometimes thousands.
California-based Christian worship leader Sean Feucht hosts the events, where attendees have remained mostly maskless and not socially distanced, originally to demonstrate against church coronavirus closures. Feucht has held the festivals in several cities, including last weekend in New Orleans, on Nov. 1 in Tempe and on Oct. 11 in Nashville.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya CantrellLaToya Cantrell2 dead as Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in New Orleans Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 storm New Orleans Saints to allow in-person fans starting this weekend MORE condemned the organizers of the festival, saying the event that gathered about 400 people was “not permitted, not authorized, not coordinated at all by the city of New Orleans,” The New Orleans Advocate reported.
“While this was under the guise of a religious activity or event, we know it put our people in danger,” Cantrell said during a press conference Monday.
A spokesperson for the mayor told the newspaper Monday that city officials were looking into fines or other penalties for organizers and participants.
Pastor Andy Pellerano spoke at the festival and told the Advocate that the gathering is “about the individual’s right to worship” and didn’t put anybody in danger.
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) November 7, 2020
The previous weekend, thousands gathered around Tempe Town Lake for the “Let Us Worship” event. But city officials said the organizers could receive thousands in fines after holding the festival without a permit and after the city told them they could not, the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.
Tempe officials allege the organizers violated the city’s mask mandate, Arizona’s rules on large gatherings and various city codes, such as driving a vehicle in a city park and using sound amplification equipment without a permit.
The city said in a statement last week that it “strongly discourages unpermitted activities or actions that fail to comply with applicable laws, proclamations, executive orders and (health department) guidelines.”
Tempe officials said large events are possible in the age of the coronavirus but “only … for events whose organizers work with the city of Tempe diligently and within reasonable timelines to ensure safety.”
The Metro Nashville Health Department released a statement last month indicating that Feucht did not apply for a permit in the city either.
“The Health Department is very concerned by the actions that took place at the event and we are investigating and will pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer,” the department said in a statement.
A police officer escorting me out tonight said he estimated 9000-10,000 worshippers filled the courthouse steps in downtown Nashville!
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) October 12, 2020
The “Let Us Worship” organizers did receive a permit for its gathering in Washington, D.C., last month, which brought 35,000 people to the National Mall.
Sean Feucht Ministries did not immediately return a request for comment.