What happened to the Cat Forest Festival planned in Squamish?

The Forest Cat Festival was designed to entertain 150 visitors with 50 artists on the Raffuse Creek Recreation site; the event will be postponed to a “secret location” in September.

A music festival recently closed while it was being set up in the Squamish upstate.

The Forest Cat Festival advertised a secret location for a weekend festival on August 22nd and 23rd and sold tickets for the event online.

According to the Department of Forestry, natural resource officials responded to the Raffuse Creek Recreation site when the festival was being set up.

Officials identified the organizers who violated Section 60 of the state law, a ministry spokesman told the chief.

In addition, the event violated the forest recreation regulations.

The officials wrote trespassing reports in accordance with Section 59 of the State Law.

The organizers then left the premises and, according to the ministry, removed all of their equipment.

“For-profit events on Crownland require a permit to ensure public safety and that environmental, advocacy and insurance considerations are taken into account,” the ministry spokesman said, adding that officials are with the RCMP, the Conservation Officers Service, have worked together and educate municipalities, organizers of music events about the requirements for the use of crown land.

“We didn’t want to do anything other than create a great weekend and present local artists,” said an email to The Chief from the “Forest Cat Team”.

“The rangers came, that wasn’t the reason why we postponed the event. We just wanted to move to a different location. But we actually had a COVID exposure during setup since we’ve been there since Tuesday, so regardless of what happened to the rangers, we should have postponed it anyway because we care about the safety of the people at the event . “Reads the statement.

“We worked very hard to get this festival going, we had over 50 local artists performing, we planned it over three months and everyone involved is an artist and we’ve all had a tough year because of COVID. The whole idea behind it.” the festival is to bring local artists back on stage, so this situation was very tough for everyone involved. And we had taken all security measures for this event, including volunteer paramedics, security, damage control, a cleaning crew and a COVID temperature test system at the entrance. “

The statement added that the location was chosen for the festival because organizers knew of other events held there over the past year that officials have not closed.

The Forest Cat Music Festival has been postponed to September 17-19.

The now sold-out three-day pass was listed on the website for $ 99.

Ticket holders for the original August event who are unable to attend the postponed festival will not receive a refund.

“It is really a sad situation for everyone involved, including the ticket holders. It’s not like we don’t care; we definitely do. The festival is led by a small group of musicians, it is our first event and we are not professional organizers, but musicians / DJs who missed their performances, ”the statement said.

The spokesman added that the majority of the original ticket holders understood, noting that around 150 people would attend.

“That’s the risk with all these types of events right now with COVID… So we introduced the exemption because we’re a small group of artists and not super rich, so we had to set this up just in case that happened. We believe we did the right thing in moving the move, even if some people are upset. We didn’t want to be the next COVID super spreader event. It was a difficult decision, but we believe it was the right one. “

The postponed event will not take place in Squamish, but on a farm on private property, organizers said.

The event website states that the event will be held in a “secret location outside of Squamish.”

Dan Pagely, the acting General Manager of Community Services for the District of Squamish, told The Chief that the event was a topic of discussion at the meetings of the Squamish Visitor Management Working Group, made up of representatives from the provincial government, the district, the RCMP and the Squamish Nation is made up of Squamish Tourism and Recreation Groups.

“Enforcement agencies within this group will continue to enforce any statute or provincial law that is not being complied with,” Pagely said.

Legitimate organized outdoor gatherings with capacity constraints are allowed during Step 3 of the provincial restart plan, but must have permits and follow all guidelines from the provincial health department and Vancouver Coastal Health, as well as any local event permit requirements, he added.

“An additional concern is that backcountry incidents pose an increased fire safety risk and remote incidents of this type can pose challenges for our first responders in terms of resources and road access. So yes, it’s worrying. ”

Natural resource officials will follow up if Forest Cat or other rave organizers decide to re-use Crown land, the department said.

** Please note that the heading of this story has been changed after it was published to avoid confusion about who closed the festival.

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