Malik James, the organizer of the So Hood Summer Jam, says all options are on the table to recover some of the money he invested in an event that was shut down by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District after a court injunction to prevent the event from taking place.
James acknowledged that the July 26-27 event was ticketed, but only to cover the cost of hosting campers on their property. In that sense he says he was doing the same thing as other property owners in the Pemberton area who offered parking and camping on their land during the Pemberton Festival for a price.
He also said they would limit the number of tickets sold to 450, less than the 500 required for an official event permit, and that the only tickets they sold were to agents of the SLRD that aggressively purchased tickets in order to prove that So Hood was a ticketed event. The SLRD told the Supreme Court that the event sold 900 tickets, which James denies.
“This was a private party for friends and family, and a couple of fiat players in hip hop and some other channels that were up in the area to see Jay-Z,” he said. “We invited as many as we could host comfortably on the land, and they came down hard. They threatened us, harassed us, sent out court papers, told people not to come, did their drive bys, flew over — it was ridiculous.”
James said the misunderstanding stems from an agreement he had with Absolute Car Audio, who he says over promoted the event and printed false information in their ad. James says there was no beer garden, the stage was small, and the 10 hip hop acts booked to perform were just friends of his from the industry.
He adds that the SLRD never talked to him to find out the real story — that the event taking place was far different than the one promoted on the poster.
Now James wants some of the money he put out to host the event back, and is looking at his legal options. He doesn’t understand why his event was singled out, while other property owners were allowed to rent space to campers.
He also pointed out that the injunction applied to two properties that were not advertised on the poster. The event was to take place at The Spirit Circle in Mt. Currie on 212 Portage Road, while the injunction applied to an adjoining property registered to Zonta Enterprises and William Leigh Finck.
“Up and down the highway there were people renting out their spaces, and they weren’t getting harassed. This was no different,” he said.
Paul Edgington, chief administrative officer for the SLRD, said the regional district acted on the information they had at the time and he stands by their decision to go to court.
“(James) made that suggestion to me (about the injunction), but some of the information that was being circulated on the web was indicating that the size of the property… it had to be a larger property,” he said.
“We’re not sure of the relationships between the owner of the property known as The Spirit Circle and the larger adjoining property, but it appears that the majority of stuff would happen on the other property including the camping and beer gardens, regardless of the address.”
Edgington adds that the So Hood promoters did not contact the SLRD for permission to host events, and did not have the permits in place to offer camping, beer gardens, and an outdoor concert.
“By their own admission they had about 450 will calls for tickets and that they were contemplating a beer garden. It was a sizable event, but they didn’t go through the proper channels or planning as far as getting permits, and I think the (SLRD) board’s decision was still the right one.”
As for the other properties near the Pemberton Music Festival that were offering camping and parking, Edgington says the SLRD will be reviewing the situation if the festival returns next year. “But the small amount of camping and parking those people offered pales in comparison to what was being promoted as an alternative event with some very unconstrained behaviour — as alluded to in the ads on the web — and we took action against the one that posed the greatest risk to public safety. That’s why we took steps to curtail the event.”
Roughly 60 people did camp on The Spirit Circle site, which Edgington was pleased to see. “We were willing to work with them to plan an event, we were just not prepare to concede this event or see an unplanned event take place.”