Organizers of the Mad Hatter Music Festival in Leduc County, south of Edmonton, will face "large" fines after defying a stop work order, says the county.


A Leduc County peace officer served the stop order to the Mad Hatter Music Festival Thursday. (Alicia Asquith/CBC News)

"The order was put in place a result of serious concerns over public safety," the county said in press release Monday. "As festival organizers defied the stop order, Leduc County and RCMP were forced to tie up significant resources to monitor the festival activities throughout the weekend."

The county denied the festival permission to proceed after inspecting the site because organizers failed to provide adequate information about emergency plans, health permits and additional security.

However, the festival went ahead on private property from Aug. 23 to 27.

The maximum penalty for defying the order is $15,000 plus $1000 for each additional day the violation continues or up to six months in jail, said the county. The amount will be decided by a judge once the case goes to court.

The fines will be used to recover the cost of monitoring activities at the festival, officials said.

Peace officers also issued the maximum fine of $500 for not having proper permits to festival organizers and the property owner, late Saturday afternoon. 

"While Leduc County is open for business and welcomes sanctioned events in the county, the organizers of the Mad Hatter festival have shown a disregard for public safety and little respect for those living around the festival site," said Rick Thomas, the county's general manager of community services.

"It is because of the willful disregard for safety and security that Leduc County has been forced to issue these fines," he said.

Organizer Sarah Dantzer said putting on the festival was worth the legal issues.

"It sounds bad, but I just really believe in what I'm doing, in what I'm creating with people," she said. "We're a commnity and I'm very happy to be part of it and happy to bring people together so they can interact and find one another."

While Dantzer said the festival did not make a profit, she still plans to hold it again next year.