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Summerset festival moving to drive-in model for music benefit during pandemic

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 6:46 pm PDT

FILE: The Summerset Music & Arts Fesitval is moving to a different format for August 2020. (Courtesy Twitter/@summersetfestca)
Summary

Summerset music and arts festival will be held at a drive-in theatre instead of the typical three-day event

It will be a fundraiser to help struggling musicians no longer allowed to perform at local concert venues and clubs

The list of performers will be announced after their safety plan is approved by the province

LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) –This year’s Summerset Music & Arts Festival may not be cancelled after all.

Festival director Annette McArthur says, instead of holding the three-day event in Fort Langley, it will be a benefit at drive- in theatre from August 28th through 30th.


“We can do this. We just need a lot of land in order to break even. Trouble-shooted our way through being able to put the model together. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through with things like the Agricultural Land Commission and so, you know, we’re a little bit aways from being able to say, ‘Okay, we’ve got the all clear,'” McArthur says.

The location hasn’t been disclosed yet, but it will be similar to the Twilight Drive-in Theatre in Aldergrove.

She says they already have support from Creative BC and Destination BC for this fundraiser to help struggling musicians no longer allowed to perform at local concert venues and clubs.

“We are moving forward to be able to open those gates on August 28th. If I have to sit in my car or, if it’s allowed, to be able sit on a lawn chair at the back of my tailgate, people are going to be okay with that.”

McArthur says the list of performers will be announced after their safety plan is approved by the province.


“It’s a pretty significant line-up. We’re really excited about it. So far, none of our artists have said no. They’ve all said, ‘Wow! This could be amazing’ and that’s exactly what we wanted to hear.”

She adds no date will be set for ticket sales to start until they get approval to safely host this family-friendly event.

“One hundred per cent family-friendly. It’s right in our mission statement. Once people hear our line-up, they’re going to see, wow, they really did think of everyone,” McArthur says. “We don’t have a crystal ball to forecast what’s going to happen, but there’s going to be no gatherings or anything like that if we’re not in full compliance and we certainly don’t want to be that event that says, ‘Oh gee, those people that went to Summerset, look at the problems they caused?'”

McArthur tells NEWS 1130 more than 60 other music festivals across B.C. are at risk and the idea for this drive-in model has been in the works for a few weeks.

“And then, it was just a couple of weeks ago, while we were in the throws of this that there was news that came up that there was a drive-in concert that happened in Denmark, so that was quite exciting because we thought, ‘Okay, we’re not crazy!’ This really could be a thing.”

As for what kind of security will be needed to ensure everyone follows physical distancing rules, McArthur says that would be necessary even if there was no pandemic to wait out.

“You know, you have to have security to be able to enforce the ground rules that you put in place and so, you know, thankfully, we will have that and if we need to use it, then we use it.”