Evolve Festival leaves Antigonish for Beersville, N.B.
'Unbelievable amount of preparation' required to get new site ready
Evolve Festival organizers have eight weeks to turn a piece of land just north of Moncton, N.B., into a music festival site after being forced to pull out of Antigonish, N.S., because they couldn't meet the deadline for a medical plan.
The festival's executive director said the event is moving to a farm between Clairville and Beersville, about a half hour from Moncton. The site, about 200 hectares in size, requires an "unbelievable amount of preparation," Jonas Colter said.
"We have to build roads, we have to build infrastructure, we're talking about building a pool for this year and we're also looking at potentially having showers," Colter said. "So it's inconceivable the amount of work we have."
The festival is scheduled to take place July 8 to 10. Colter said he's confident the festival grounds will be ready on time, but the preparations are going to cost "a lot of money" — he estimates more than $1 million.
'Ran out of time' to keep festival in N.S.
"We did everything possible to keep Evolve in Antigonish," Colter said. "We ran out of time."
The Municipality of the County of Antigonish revoked the festival's special event licence after organizers failed to submit a medical plan by Feb. 1.
The plan had to be developed and overseen by a licensed medical clinician.
Colter said he worked with a number of doctors to write the medical plan, but the last doctor who offered to help needed an extra week or two to complete it. The county wasn't willing to grant him that, Colter said.
"I think we could've been given an extension had the County of Antigonish wanted to keep Evolve in Antigonish," he said.
The medical plan was one of the stipulations of a conditional permit issued in December 2015. The municipality passed the special events bylaw in March 2015 as a way to regulate large events.
2015 festival-goer died
In the days after attending last year's festival, 21-year-old Dylan Champion of P.E.I. died of natural causes after he had a seizure.
Concerns raised by medical professionals following Champion's death led festival organizers to consider changes such as having the festival run for one day less and not having performances run as long into the overnight hours.
Colter said he's sad the festival is leaving Nova Scotia but it's always been a Maritime event and the new location is more central. He said it's closer to major centres and it has a lot of amenities, including an international airport.
"I think in the big picture this move will create, in the short term and in the long term, a better Evolve experience for everybody."