The Squamish Lillooet Regional District was on the ball when it came to dealing with an unpermitted event being planned just down the road from Pemberton Festival last weekend.
Someone was selling tickets to a second, unsanctioned event, dubbed the So Hood Summer Jam, which was being billed as an alternative to the Pemberton Festival and planned for Mount Currie.
The event was advertised as offering three stages featuring performances by 10 hip hop acts, as well as decibel dual drag racing, camping, beer gardens, vendors and a hot tub party under the stars on 50 acres of land. Information was posted online on Craigslist and at www.canadiancaraudio.com and www.sohoodsummerjam.com .
The only problem? None of this was approved by local government agencies.
Paul Edgington, chief administrative officer for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, said they found out about the event at the end of June.
“We were advised by reps out at Mount Currie that people were planning an event on land adjacent to the reserve,” said Edgington. “It’s our understanding that there had been a rave there, recently, that’s also unpermitted.”
To Edgington’s knowledge, no permits or approvals had been requested of any government agency.
“It’s not about shutting things down just because,” Edgington said, adding that there are safety issues that need to be considered, and that is why the permitting process is in place.
Tickets were advertised at $40 per person and $150 for a three-day camping pass, and were on sale at car stereo places throughout the Lower Mainland until as recently as last Friday. Edgington said that up to 900 people had purchased tickets.
“All the while that… one of the promoters of the event was just suggesting that it was something for him and his immediate friends,” Edgington added.
Edgington said representatives from Live Nation were very supportive, but their concern was that if the So Hood Summer Jam did take place and something went wrong, they might have been associated with this rogue event.
“The disappointing thing is that the community, Live Nation, so many people have done so many wonderful things that you don’t want a few individuals to just take advantage and just spoil it,” he explained.
The SLRD decided to collect evidence about the rogue event — they had someone purchase tickets on their behalf so they could swear an affidavit confirming that tickets were, in fact, being sold.
On Tuesday, July 22 they filed documents with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and on Wednesday morning, appeared before a judge to state their case. Zonta Enterprises Ltd. and William Leigh Finck are named in the court documents.
Edgington said that Zonta Enterprises Ltd., the company that owns the property in question, was actually co-operating fully with the legal proceedings, and seemed to have had no knowledge that the event was scheduled to take place over the weekend.
The SLRD was awarded an injunction to prevent organizers from holding the event, and the defendants were ordered to stop advertising and selling tickets, and to advertise that the event had been cancelled. The SLRD took out advertisements in media throughout the region, in the hope that people who purchased tickets would skip the trip to Mount Currie altogether, and Edgington encouraged ticketholders to look for refunds through their ticketing agent.
Calls to the number posted on the advertisements for the So Hood Summer Jam were not returned.
RCMP Inspector Norm McPhail said local authorities were aware of the So Hood Summer Jam situation, and were hoping that the advertising efforts would prevent people from making the trip.
But some ticket holders ended up showing up at the Spirit Circle entrance to the property on Thursday, July 24 so the SLRD went back to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to obtain an enforcement order.
“We got the enforcement order and it was communicated very quickly to the property owners and to a few other people… and we believe that on the basis of that, the event did not happen,” Edgington said in an interview on Tuesday.
If the event had gone ahead as planned, authorities were in place to serve the enforcement order to bring the event to a complete halt.
“Because of the actions we’d taken, it didn’t occur, and police overflights of the property revealed that there was a very small number of people camping, and all of the things that they were suggesting they were going to do didn’t happen,” said Edgington.
While the SLRD still hasn’t heard back from either of the defendants, they will be seeking reimbursement for the cost of advertisements.
Edgington added that he would encourage the would-be organizers to apply for the appropriate permitting if they hope to make their event a reality in the future.