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Organizers cancel summer drive-in music concert in Metro Vancouver

The Province restricted events with gatherings of 50 people to include 50 vehicles.
Summerset music festival drive in Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 5.11.44 PM
Facebook photo / Summerset Music & Arts Festival

Organizers of Canada's first-ever drive-in music festival, Summerset Benefit Concert, say they are cancelling the event due to the new COVID-19 restrictions introduced in May.

This year’s Summerset Music & Arts Festival event was created in an effort to comply with public health officials’ physical distancing guidelines. However, the Province restricted events with gatherings of 50 people to include 50 vehicles.

On May 26, the team at Summerset said it would appeal the Provincial Health Office's new restriction on attendance at drive-in events. They said they had developed a comprehensive Safety and Precaution Program that addressed 37 protocols to keep staff and guests safe. 

However, in a recent Facebook post, organizers state that, "Due to new restrictions introduced in May 2020 on gatherings of events of 50 people to now include 50 vehicles, and recent statements from the Provincial Health Office expressing the extension of these restrictions for the 'coming months,' we are left without options. Therefore, we sadly must announce the cancellation of the Summerset Benefit Concert, and the postponement of Summerset Music & Arts Festival to August 27 - 29, 2021.We tried to make this work however, health, safety and regulatory compliance is and must remain our top priority."

The Red Door Events team adds that it is exploring ways to operate a concert series that complies with the 50 person gathering restriction to keep live music alive in BC this year.

Prior to the cancellation, organizers said the venue’s size would allow attendees to pop open their tailgate or throw a few blankets in the bed of a pickup and enjoy the show from their own vehicles. According to the festival’s website, each vehicle would have had a designated spot that adhered to social distancing regulations. 

Premier John Horgan stated that the Province will move into Phase 3 of B.C.'s restart plan during a press conference early Wednesday afternoon.  

Most of the businesses listed in Phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan now have the guidance they need to safely begin to open. WorkSafeBC, public health officials and industry representatives have developed guidelines for hotels and resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment, like movie theatres, and businesses in these sectors have already begun to open with COVID-19 safety plans in place.

- With files from Megan Lalonde.