Loading articles...

Summerset drive-in festival postponed amid virus safety restrictions

Last Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 10:19 pm PDT

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

Summerset Music & Arts Festival has been postponed until next year

This year's festival has been cancelled because it can't go ahead if only 50 cars are allowed in

The festival director says she understands pandemic-related safety concerns, but the local music industry is suffering

TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) — As we wait for Phase 3 of B.C.’s economic recovery to start, it’s too late for a charity concert planned as a drive-in attraction.

The Summerset Music & Arts Festival has been postponed until next year because organizers say it can’t go ahead if only 50 cars are allowed in.

Director Annette McArthur says she understands pandemic-related safety concerns, but the local music industry continues to suffer.

“It’s important for the arts. It’s important for the community. Financially, I know that there’s been grant money that’s been issued to organizations like Creative BC and so on, but the boots on the ground, there’s a lot of people right now that are just feeling forgotten.”

McArthur says the three-day event planned for August 28 to 30 has been re-scheduled for the same time next year, but she hopes it’s not too late for other creative projects to go ahead this year.

“Not only us, but I think of weddings. I think of all of those events, but in particular, the live music industry, it just feels as though we’re not being addressed and I’m personally a little bit frustrated by that.”

On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made it clear she has no plans to expand the 50-person limit over the summer.

McArthur tells NEWS 1130 that restriction on outdoor gatherings is an obstacle they can’t overcome.

“Definitely the catalyst that made us say, okay, we have to rip the band-aid off and so it led to a lot of conversations, a lot of emails and we all kind of concluded, if this 50-person capacity isn’t going to be lifted –for everyone’s safety and we understand that– it looks like we’re dead in the water, unfortunately.”

McArthur had been holding out hope the 50-car limit for the drive-in concert would be expanded during the next stage of recovery.

She says detailed plans ensuring concert-goers would stay at least two metres apart were ready for approval from WorkSafeBC.

Earlier this month, seating limits on restaurant seating were relaxed.

McArthur says she and other people in B.C.’s struggling music industry hope Premier John Horgan offers more support this week when he updates next steps for re-opening the province.