June 27, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - After being called out by the regional district over permitting issues, music festival organizers has announced a new location outside the region for their event.
The Electric Love Music Festival, July 29 to Aug. 1, is headed to Agassiz, organizers announced today, June 27. While they would have liked to bring the festival to Vidette, northwest of Kamloops, spokesperson Dennis Nukina says the festival is returning to last year’s location at the Cheam Fishing Village in Agassiz.
“They’re pretty excited to have us back,” he says. "That was definitely the best option."
Organizers are now considering keeping it at that location, where it could be grown into a larger festival, instead of earlier plans to move it near Kamloops. However, no decisions are being made for next year's festival yet.
“Our dream was to bring it back to Kamloops because we’re from Kamloops,” Nukina says.
Organizers applied for permits to hold the festival at their property in February, but because about half of the property is part of the agricultural land reserve it meant a long permitting process and as a result this year’s festival couldn’t happen where they wanted — a piece of land they own near Vidette on Allie Lake.
They searched for other locations but contractual obligations meant organizers couldn't disclose the location until after the weekend, Nukina says.
He says the Thompson-Nicola Regional District assumed organizers were moving forward with plans at Allie Lake when the district released a press statement last week. While the land is being cleared, he says it's due to the wildfire hazard posed by dead pine trees on the lot, not to make space for a festival. While organizers thought about hosting the festival there, the owners are considering using the property as grazing land for bison or cows, he says.
While he understands regional district staff have a job to do, he finds it unfair they raised concerns about the safety of the festival.
"My issue with them is they made it sound like we had no safety procedures," he says. "They made it sound like we didn’t have any concern for people’s safety."
Safety issues have been dealt with, he says, but the regional district wasn't told, since the festival is no longer being held in the area.
Around 1,000 people are expected for the festival this year, compared to about 700 last year. Nukina notes attendees could bring a fair sized economic impact, wherever the festival ends up in the future.
Refunds are being offered to ticket holder who can no longer attend because of the change in venue.
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