Statement regarding Overland Expo 2015 EAST

Overland Expo is a twice-per-year event that strives to provide attendees with a world-class experience of community building, inspiration, and training, as well as industry-relevant vendors from around the world. It is with our humblest apologies that this year at Overland Expo 2015 EAST we could not provide these experiences at the level to which we always strive. 

As an organization, we transition from a team of five directors who work year-round, to a team of over 200 instructors, volunteers, and staff who work together to manage and contribute to the event during the weekend. Unfortunately there was a significant miscommunication between our main Overland Expo team of directors and some of the parking staff hired by Taylor Ranch. 

After .44” of rain at the 2014 EAST show last year turned the campground into a mud pit, this  year we began a week in advance to lay down 20 dump-truck-loads of high-quality road-building gravel to create good roads into the campground in order to preempt any issues. While this helped significantly, the 3.74” of rain we received was beyond what the ground could hold. This caused a safety issue in the day parking lot. Parked cars were sliding down the over-saturated ground so due to safety concerns, we had to close the parking area to any new arrivals. That is why we were asking people to take a taxi to the show. 

Unfortunately, all arrivals at the gate were being told the event was cancelled when that wasn’t the case. Instructors were being turned away, which made them miss their classes, and attendees, staff, and media were not given the correct information and turned away completely. We would rather have had everyone on site enjoying the expo despite the rain than sent home, and we recognize the extreme inconvenience and hardship this caused for those who drove from far away to get to Asheville. 

The hurricane, even though it was not directly over us, caused widespread regional flooding and power outages among other complications, and we cannot imagine the additional damage it may have caused had it been the predicted 8-12 inches for our area.  
We are taking the feedback from attendees into consideration, and for the next year we are implementing new measures to correct many of the issues we had. This includes looking at alternate venues within the area. We hope that everyone who attended this year can return and those who were turned away are willing to give us another chance and experience what the overland community is all about. 

Sincerely,

Roseann & Jonathan Hanson, Graham Jackson, Anthony Sicola, and Alison DeLapp

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