Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener's Ever After music festival 'will not compromise' fan experience

The president of Ever After Music Festival said he “will not compromise” the experience of the event after the City of Kitchener voted to turn down the music and end the festival early.

In 2017, the electronic dance music festival sparked over 100 noise complaints on the Sunday

In 2017, Ever After Music Festival, a three-day electronic dance music festival, sparked over 100 noise complaints on the final Sunday. (@diontimmermusic/Twitter)

The president of Ever After Music Festival said he "will not compromise" the experience of the event after the City of Kitchener voted to turn down the music and end the festival early.

"Myself and the City of Kitchener are going to work very closely leading up to, and on event weekend, to make sure we're within restrictions," the festival's president, Gabriel Mattacchione, said in an interview with CBC News Monday.

"That being said if a decision has to be made that would compromise the attendees experience and what they pay for … I won't compromise their experience for some noise complaints."

His comments come after Kitchener council approved a noise exemption for the three-day-festival last week with two key changes.

City staff approved bringing the music down to 55 decibel level in surrounding neighbourhoods, down from 65 dBA last year, and ending the festival at 9 p.m. on the Sunday as opposed to 11 p.m., which is the case on the Friday and Saturday.

Mattacchione said he isn't worried about the decibel levels, as they are only meant to be that quiet in residential areas. With new technology, he said they will be able to centralize the music to the event space at Bingemans.

The 9 p.m. cut off for the festival, however, is a problem for Mattacchione, who said there were deadlines for when programming had to be set before the city council decision, and "there are certain acts chosen to play on the Sunday that a 9 p.m. close just isn't suitable for."

'Unfair' restrictions

Mattacchione told CBC News he thinks the restrictions are unfair, and claims electronic dance music gets singled out more than other genres.

"I think it's very black and white that Ever After is the only product in the region that gets put under these circumstances," he said.

"There are many complaints for other genres of events and products that come to the region, none of which get put under these restrictions in the following years."

Kitchener Mayor Barry Vrbanovic said claims of prejudice against the festival are absolutely untrue.

"As a city we really try hard to make sure we offer things for everybody, whether its country music, rock-and-roll, EDM, motorcycle shows … we try to offer options that reflect the diversity of both age and culturally in our community," he said in an interview with CBC News Monday.

Vrbanovic said the restrictions were the city's attempt to strike a balance between welcoming events like Ever After to the community and balancing the impact it will have on Kitchener residents' quality of life.

More than 100 complaints in 2017

In 2017, the City of Kitchener received more than 100 noise complaints on the final Sunday of the festival.

Vrbanovic said it was the largest number of noise complaints out of any event the city has ever hosted.

He said he will be disappointed if "not compromising" is the direction the festival wants to take, and said there would be repercussions for going against the noise exemption bylaws, including fines up to $10,000.

There are only two options for dealing with noise infraction, he said, the first being a ticketed noise infraction, which is common for small events or house parties, and comes with a $300 fine.

Or there is a summary conviction, which is taken to the courts and could lead to a $10,000 fine at the discretion of a judge.

Mattachione said he is aware the city has the grounds to fine them if they don't shut down the festival at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

He said he will be working closely with the city to ensure nothing goes wrong to lead to a hefty fine, but said he is "willing to eat the fine" so the "experience our fans pay for isn't compromised."

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