Police pull the plug on summer festival
The Sound of Summer Music Festival will not take place in Penticton, at least not this year.
City council voted 5-0 Monday evening not to approve a permit to hold the festival in Okanagan Lake Park after hearing concerns from RCMP Insp. Brad Haugli that the event’s organizers had not addressed logistic and safety issues in a satisfactory and timely manner.
“Overall, I required more information and a more in-depth co-ordinated detailed plan in regards to safety management of such an event which would include communication; the ability of the security company; the crowd capacity, which would also include the venue; parking and traffic management; and also community consultation within the area,” Haugli said Tuesday.
“As the chief of police, I needed to be satisfied that everything is done in a timely fashion so that there is communication with all the essential agencies such as myself, the fire department and the liquor inspector ... particularly for an event such as this where the crowd capacity that I was told ranged from 5,000 to 6,500.”
Haugli said the plan the event’s organizers did send in was not satisfactory.
“Public safety is paramount and I need to ensure the safety of the public,” he said. “I need to ensure that the public around the venue are satisfied that they have been consulted. And I need to ensure the safety of my police officers and ensure that I have adequate support and enhanced policing during an event this large.”
Scheduled for Aug. 13 and 14, Sound of Summer was to feature concerts with artists performing different styles of music including top 40, rock, pop, hip-hop and electronic, followed by a DJ dance show at the end. There was also going to be food and merchandise vendors, plus a beer garden operated by the JCI.
Haugli stressed that he is not against the festival’s concept, and that if organizers wish to hold it in Penticton in 2012, he would be happy to work with them.
“I support looking at having the Sound of Summer here next year and I look forward to working with the promoter and the company for next year,” Haugli said. “However, at the earliest opportunity we need to be contacted by the promoter as soon as it is decided that they wish to pursue such an event.
“The concerns we have can be worked out for 2012. It is just that we the police and every other agency that has relevance, plus the community around the venue and the city, have to all come together to discuss and come up with a plan so that when we are at this stage of the game, a month before the event is scheduled, everything is in place and it is really just a matter of a few touch ups the day that the event happens.”
Penticton CAO Annette Antoniak said the city would also like to work with the organizers to develop a more suitable plan.
“I think I can speak on behalf of council and staff that we are extremely disappointed (that the event is not going to happen),” Antoniak said. “We are happy to work with (organizers) moving forward for 2012.”
Festival organizers could not be reached for comment.