Promoter silences Sound of Summer

It is the sound of disappointment for many music fans as a two-day festival scheduled to take place this weekend has been cancelled.

It is the sound of disappointment for many music fans as a two-day festival scheduled to take place this weekend has been cancelled.

Sound of Summer music festival director Landon Hamilton said he was extremely determined to overcome every hurdle that came his way, but couldn’t leap over the restraints put on the event to relocate to private land owned by a Penticton Indian Band member.

In July, Penticton council denied the 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 safety issues in a satisfactory and timely manner. Within the week festival organizers, Get Loud Entertainment, struck a deal to hold the event next to Skaha Meadows Golf Course on Old Airport Road, despite disapproval from the PIB council. Hamilton said there was not enough time to move the event which headlined Flo Rida and Lupe Fiasco.

“We strongly appreciate and thank them for stepping up to the plate and supporting our event. However ideal the new location is, there simply isn’t enough time to prepare the festival grounds for execution,” said Hamilton in a press release.

Hamilton and Get Loud Entertainment, who did not respond to requests for an interview, expressed frustration in a press release Tuesday stating the city originally approved the event then withdrew the approval forcing the show to relocate to a new venue.

During last week’s Peach Festival, Okanagan Lake Park hosted Canadian rock band Trooper which entertained an estimated 7,500 people. Sound of Summer’s estimated 5,000 to 6,500 people would be in attendance at their music event in the same park. Haugli explained Peachfest has been around for years with well experienced people planning it.

“Trooper is a great band, a good family-orientated band that everyone can enjoy. I wouldn’t say that about all the acts that planned to come for Sound of Summer. They are more of a licensed bar crowd with rave-type disc jockeys coming and some of the music has profanities in it. For an outdoor event and some of the type of people it would draw, for example gang-related individuals coming to enjoy this event, caused me concern,” said Haugli.

Police had arranged to augment their detachment with six gang task force officers from the Lower Mainland and seven general duty officers to be visible in the community of the Penticton Indian Band and post-event around licensed establishments in Penticton.

Haugli said the devil was in the details concerning the promoters application with the city, and the details were vague. In a letter Haugli submitted to both the City of Penticton and Penticton Indian Band he noted there were no attempts by the promoters to contact neighbours to Okanagan Lake Park and he received written non-support from the Lakeside Resort management who identified several concerns. Haugli said the event was disclosed months ago but the promoter did not initiate direct contact or respond to requests from his office for discussion and development of the safety management plan. According to Haugli, representatives hired by the promoter from Penticton Security told the inspector they didn’t believe Okanagan Lake Park is a suitable venue. Another issue RCMP had was that the music lineup was only revealed to them on July 2 and it was determined that the music genres were not suitable for all ages.

At least one local business has expressed disappointment about the event’s cancellation.

“We are all really disappointed because of the way the economy is doing and businesses are suffering. This event drew hope to everybody that we would have some business,” said Courtesy Taxi owner Happy Kahlon.

“We are frustrated and disappointed with this council’s decision. There is always a slow time between Ironman and Peachfest and we were happy that Sound of Summer would bring some business because there is no events happening this week.”

Up until late Tuesday morning a local radio station was promoting the show by giving away tickets through contests, but by the afternoon Get Loud Entertainment issued a press release saying the event has been cancelled. The news quickly spread via social media. Even some of the artists scheduled to appear at the two-day festival responded through their Twitter accounts.

“Sound of Summer fest in Penticton this weekend is cancelled! We were informed today. This is an outrage,” said These Kids Wear Crowns band member Joshua “Gypsy” McDaniel on his Twitter account on Tuesday. “TKWC was looking forward to it.”