National Park Service turns down Daft Punk proposal for Devils Tower

2014-02-26T18:15:00Z 2014-02-27T15:19:05Z National Park Service turns down Daft Punk proposal for Devils TowerBy DANIEL SIMMONS-RITCHIE Rapid City Journal The Billings Gazette

It was a plan that would have placed lasers at the base of 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 Devils Tower National Monument.

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 American Indian tribes about the proposal, all of which generally agreed that it would be a disrespectful use of one of the country's most sacred American Indian 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 Daft Punk's agency appeared to be scouting locations across the world for a concert or multiple concerts to be held around the summer.

He said the group's agency was particularly interested in using lasers to light up the park's 1,300-foot rock column at night.

"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 group's agency also indicated that it wished to host as many as 50,000 concert-goers.

"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 Daft Punk's agency continued through the end of last year, the agency grew to understand the significance of the site to American Indians 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.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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