PEI

Cavendish Beach Music Festival grounds could be home to drive-in summer concert series

Island music lovers might be excited to hear that some summer concerts at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival site could happen after all, in a new drive-in format, featuring P.E.I. artists.

If approved by health authorities, the concert series could begin in July

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival grounds could look a little different this year with a new drive-in concert format. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Island music lovers might be able to take in some summer concerts at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival site after all, in a new drive-in format, featuring P.E.I. artists.

Whitecap Entertainment is exploring the idea of using the site for a series of shows that would be held on select Saturday nights throughout the summer. 

The full festival was cancelled this year because of the ban on large gatherings during the pandemic. The festival has been a popular summer attraction on P.E.I. for 11 years,  drawing about 60,000 fans over a weekend. 

Jeff Squires, who is president and CEO of Whitecap, says depending on approval from health officials, the summer concert series could accommodate between 300 and 500 cars.

Concertgoers would park on the site, remain in their cars and enjoy the music of local talent. 

So far, Squires said he's heard from a number of people interested in participating in the new format, however, it comes down to the new health measures. 

What we're hearing is that there's a gap in our arts and culture and entertainment community and activities for people to do.— Jeff Squires, Whitecap Entertainment

"We see what's going on in some other jurisdictions and trying to develop a bit of a modified tourism product to offer to those people who are around Prince Edward Island," he said. 

"Anything that we would do would have to follow the guidelines of the phases of COVID-19 that we're operating in." 

Squires said he hopes to support local artists and create activity for people on P.E.I.

"What we're hearing is that there's a gap in our arts and culture and entertainment community and activities for people to do. So I think with the space and the guidelines that are in place there may be an opportunity to fill in some gaps here," he said. 

Jeff Squires, President of Whitecap Entertainment says he's hoping to fill a gap in P.E.I.'s summer entertainment scene as the province continues to navigate COVID-19. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

The local council has issued a conditional permit to Whitecap Entertainment, to host events throughout the summer on their site, pending approval of the department of health and other government authorities, said Matthew Jelley, mayor of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico.

"Our understanding is that it was being branded as a drive-in concert series, utilizing the facilities there and the large field so they'll be able to space people out and to do some live entertainment," Jelley said. 

"It's a little bit of a test even for the future, maybe of some possible uses for the site." 

Jelley said ultimately, the municipality is keen on finding alternative uses for the site and supporting local artists in a responsible way.

If things go smoothly and the idea is approved, Squires said the shows would likely begin in July.

More from CBC P.E.I. 

With files from Angela Walker

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