PEI

Rock the Boat festival making plans for this summer

P.E.I.’s Chief Public Health Office has said there will be no mass gatherings this summer, but Rock the Boat Music Festival organizers are confident they can work within the rules to hold some kind of event.

‘We're going to have to be prepared this year to make changes on site’

There will be musicians at the Rock the Boat Music Festival this summer, but how many people will be in the audience is still to be determined. (CBC)

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) has said there will be no mass gatherings this summer, but Rock the Boat Music Festival organizers are confident they can work within the rules to hold some kind of event.

Adam MacLennan, chair of the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival and president of Rock the Boat Music Festival, was at a meeting with Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison and Premier Dennis King last week where they took questions from festival organizers about what pandemic public health restrictions are expected to be in place this summer.

"After leaving that meeting, I felt pretty optimistic that there's an opportunity that our festival can go ahead," said MacLennan.

"So much can change from now until the end of July. But at the same time, the way that P.E.I. and Atlantic Canada is doing, you know, we are fairly optimistic that some sort of events are going to be able to happen this year."

There is a lot of space in Green Park, where the festival is held, and MacLennan said they are making plans for an audience as large as 2,000 people.

The planning will be complicated, he said, because they are aware public health conditions could change very quickly.

"Normally there is a sense leading up to the event that, you know, everything's planned, everything's ready," said MacLennan.

This year's acts will be mostly, perhaps all, from Atlantic Canada. (Pat Martel/CBC)

"We're going to have to be prepared this year to make changes on site, even the day before or during the event."

MacLennan is hoping some events for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival can also go ahead, including the national oyster shucking championship, which may have to be pared back to a regional event.

Some acts for the music festival are already under contract, he said. Islanders can expect more local and regional acts than usual, but he said he has been talking with the CPHO about bringing in acts from outside Atlantic Canada under work-isolation rules.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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