Cloggeroo Folk Festival organizers were forced to alter their first night of programming after Three Rivers Council inadvertently rubber stamped a 10 pm curfew.
A request for an extension to 11 pm was defeated by a vote of 10-2 at a June 28 special meeting.
A motion to extend the time was made by Councillor Cameron MacLean and seconded by Deputy Mayor Debbie Johnston. All other councillors were opposed.
The deputy mayor said she felt not giving the extra hour was too stringent.
Councillor Larry Creed suggested too much fuss was being made over one hour’s difference.
“We’re talking 60 minutes here. That’s 60 minutes that could cost us a week of Cloggeroo next year. Do we want to discourage these groups and lose them?”
Council approved several requests from the folk festival at its June 14 meeting, including extending the curfew to 1 am on Friday and Saturday.
However, a Thursday extension from 10 pm was mistakenly left off the agenda.
The festival added a Thursday night lineup this year because the province’s
Chief Public Health Office would not allow two shows on Saturday. It had originally requested a 1 am curfew for that day.
Believing it had secured an 11 pm end time, the Cloggeroo board signed contracts with musicians, including three bookings for Thursday evening, another contract with a bus company to bring spectators and spent advertising funds for the August 12-15 event in Georgetown.
When the matter was first discussed at committee of council on May 25, councillors seemingly reached a consensus to set the curfew at 11 pm.
Matters are forwarded to regular council meetings for a final decision.
Festival chair Kathleen Flanagan said a 10 pm curfew would have been fine had it been clear from the beginning, but with many moving parts in organizing the event, it will have a ripple effect.
The evening’s lineup will remain the same because contracts have been signed and many tickets have already been sold.
The board will explore other options such as shorter sets in order to include everyone.
“We will do the same show. That’s what we promised,” Ms Flanagan said. “It’s discouraging that council would take that approach this late in the game.”
The board sent letters to each councillor asking for their reasoning to reject the change but none had responded late last week, she said.
In light of a discussion at a July council meeting regarding noise from the festival site following the performances, Ms Flanagan said it usually clears out in 15 to 20 minutes. Any after-parties are held by Georgetown residents, not sanctioned by the festival.
Councillor Alan Munro said he believed 10 pm would be sufficient, arguing the noise travels throughout the town.
Councillor Cindy MacLean agreed.
“I live on Richmond Street and it’s like they’re in my back yard,” she said.
Mayor Ed MacAulay urged the councillors to consider moving the curfew to 11 pm during the July 12 council meeting.
The matter had already been defeated and was not on the agenda, so a unanimous vote was required to add it.
Two attempts to add the matter to the agenda were unsuccessful. Both the deputy mayor and Councillor Gerard Holland moved motions to put it back on the table. Councillors Munro and Cindy MacLean voted nay.
Councillor MacLean said she voted against it because some of her constituents questioned why the festival was allowed Thursday night at all.
“We have to realize we’re also here for our residents,” she said.
Councillor Jane King noted the board had put in “a considerable amount of cost, effort and work” under the impression of a later curfew.