No good reason to fence in music festival

Hey, remember that time the Victoria Electronic Music Festival degenerated into a wild, vicious mob and proceeded to set the capital ablaze for weeks on end? Yeah, me neither.

Hey, remember that time the Victoria Electronic Music Festival degenerated into a wild, vicious mob and proceeded to set the capital ablaze for weeks on end? Yeah, me neither. So the fact that VEMF spent this year behind a wall — paid for by a $5 admission to what has traditionally been a free event — leaves me more than a little puzzled.

“It’s not our first choice,” says Jason Guille, General Manager for VEMF. “It has certainly been a lot of work to handle (the change in format) … We’ve spent infinitely more hours on site plan this year and on safety and our security plan.” This in addition to increased volunteer hours and other costs related to building and staffing the perimeter of this year’s event.

Despite some extra work, Guille’s attitude remained positive. “We are more committed to delivering a festival than we are to the details of how that occurs,” he said. “I’m not attached to fencing. I’m attached to VEMF.”

Indeed, the issue here is not whether fences were raised, but why. Police only reported two arrests for public intoxication and one fight. Why does an event like VEMF, which at its highest incident rate doesn’t even scratch the surface of something like Canada Day — which saw its arrest rate almost double this year to 85 plus 264 emergency calls — need to spend time and money to cut itself off from the public? Try as I might, this is a question to which I do not have an answer.

“15,000 people together decide through their actions whether or not VEMF works,” continues Guille. “That’s not in the organizers’ hands. We could do all kinds of things, we could have triple fences and triple searches and triple security, and that doesn’t stop someone from wrecking it for everybody. Ultimately the request is, will you as a community take on co-creating this and ensuring its well-being?”

Attempting to sterilize a free, open event like this amounts to a shift of blame from individuals to event organizers who ultimately exercise as much control over the crowd as you or I. VEMF is an amazing event. It supports dance culture and unique musical expression every year — in turn, it deserves our support. M

Just Posted

Powerfully Piaf: Musical tells chanteuse’s life story

Multimedia French cabaret show March 20 at the Royal Theatre part of a worldwide tour

CRAFT BEER COUNTDOWN: Victoria Beer Week 2019 nearly upon us

Monday beer columnist Mathieu Poirier revels in this learning and tasting extravaganza

REVIEW: Trojan Women a brilliant downer at the Phoenix

UVic theatre program does a good job interpreting Greek tragedy, wrtes Sheila Martindale

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

What is Democracy? takes another crack at Sooke

Awareness Film Night feature set for Feb. 28

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Most Read