Electronic music festival won’t land in Burl’s Creek

As time goes by, Oro-Medonte Council denies special events permit for Ever After Music Festival

The curtain will not rise on a four-day electronic music festival that organizers hoped could take place this month at the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte Township as a last-minute replacement.

Organizers hoped the Ever After Music Festival — focused on electronic dance music and including “fully immersive” camping experiences — could be held at Burl’s Creek, located on Highway 11 between Barrie and Orillia, from Thursday, August 11 through Sunday August 14. .

However, less than two weeks from the scheduled date of the event, organizers have not received township approval for the necessary special events permit after councilors rejected it, citing concerns over the operational planning of the festival.

Organizers were looking for a new location after it overtook Bingemans in Kitchener. They had hoped to move it to Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte.

Brianna Cloud, 18, who bought festival tickets in March, said BarrieToday she contacted the organizers several times by direct message on Instagram, but all of her messages remain unread.

“A lot of people I know who bought tickets say the same thing. I still haven’t received my wristbands or anything and to me it looks like they never planned to send them,” said Cloud, who had planned to travel almost 300 kilometers from her home in Lambton Shores to Oro-Medonte for the festival.

“This festival has been canceled for years and the way everything is run is pretty sketchy,” she added.

Festival organizers did not respond to emails from BarrieToday.

A staff report presented to city council on July 6 said event organizers expected the festival to include around 15,000 people per day.

However, Shawn Binns, director of operations and community services for the township, noted that promoters indicated attendance remained uncertain as there were 10,000 tickets from the 2020 event, which was canceled due to the pandemic. which had carried over to the 2022 event.

At its July 21 meeting, the Oro-Medonte council formally voted to deny the special events permit on Binns’ advice.

To obtain a special events permit from municipalities, organizers are required to develop operational plans outlining issues such as site layout, emergency management, food and beverage, traffic management, building and structural plans, fire safety, security, waste management and community. impact.

As of Tuesday afternoon (August 2), the event website was still selling tickets, which ranged from $135 for a one-day pass to $345 for a three-day VIP experience.

Event organizers took to Twitter on July 27, where they said they were aware of the township’s denial of the special events permit, adding that there was an “appeal process that they are currently ongoing as well as looking at other options to ensure that (Ever After Music Festival) takes place in 2022.

“For now, the planning for the festival is going according to plan and we will update all adventurers as soon as we have more information,” the organizers said in a tweet.

Oro-Medonte Township spokeswoman Jenny Legget said no such appeal process exists. She also says that discussions were underway and that the organizers were well aware of the problems of the municipality.

“Over the past few months, township staff and partner agencies…have been communicating with festival representatives to provide logistical assistance to facilitate the development of an acceptable festival operational plan required for the issuance a special event permit,” Legget said in an email to BarrieToday.

These “partner agencies” include the Ontario Provincial Police, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), Simcoe County Paramedic Services and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, as well as municipal law enforcement and local firefighters. All expressed concern about the lack of planning by event organizers and did not support holding the event in the township.

A July 20 letter written by Binns also noted that over the past few months township staff have communicated with the festival promoter and attempted to facilitate the operational planning for the special event that is required to issue the permit, but was ultimately not satisfied with the information they had received.

“As it stands, the state of operational planning for Ever After Music Festival has not addressed concerns and requirements for safety, construction/structure, traffic management, fire safety, of community impact, food and beverage, and appropriate medical and contingency plans,” Binns noted in his letter, while noting the time constraints and “significant concern shared by all partner agencies and parties stakeholders on the current state of the promoter’s planning and organization”.

The township’s Special Events Regulation weighs the economic and tourism benefits of such events along with the potential negative impacts and risks to ensure they are handled appropriately, Binns said.

“Given the current status of Ever After Music Festival’s operational planning and time limitations prior to the event, the township department and agency stakeholders are unable to recommend the issuance of a special event permit at this time,” he said.

The operational plan, which Binns said was received on July 15, lacked necessary details on the implementation of the traffic management plan, including parking, police and parking resources for traffic management. traffic, pedestrian traffic management and Ministry of Transportation (MTO) issuance required. encroachment permit.

It is not the first time that a large-scale music festival planned in the region has faced uncertainty at the 11th hour. In 2019, a four-day concert in the Edenvale area with the likes of Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Nickelback and Lynyrd Skynyrd was abruptly canceled less than two weeks before the event.

Gerald R. Schneider