Press Release – Evolve Permit Revoked

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Municipality of the County of Antigonish has revoked the special event permit issued to Mr. Jonas Colter to hold the Evolve Music Festival in Antigonish County on Meadow Green Road, Heatherton NS, from July 8 – 10, 2016. This means Evolve is not permitted to take place in Antigonish County.

Mr. Colter was issued a conditional permit in December 2015 to hold Evolve. The permit outlined conditions and specified dates by which the conditions were to be met or it would be revoked. One of the most important of those conditions was a medical plan developed and overseen by a hired licenced medical clinician.

Mr. Colter was officially made aware of the condition for a medical plan in September 2015 and discussed this and other conditions in person with municipal officials in October and November 2015. A final draft of the medical plan was to be completed and submitted to the Municipality by February 1, 2016. Since this date the Municipality has provided Mr. Colter every opportunity to complete and submit a plan. To date we have not received a medical plan to which Mr. Colter is willing to commit.

The Municipality recognizes the value and wants to support music festivals and other events that promote our area and draw people to our community. These events are important to our local economy and we want them to succeed. However, in order to do this attention must be paid to health and safety of our community and event-goers.

Hosting Evolve comes with a responsibility to provide a healthy and safe event. The conditions outlined by the Municipality are similar to those required by other local governments across the country in facilitating a large entertainment event. They are reasonable and achievable; they are applied in an effort to make Evolve a healthier and safer event.

For more information please contact the Municipality of the County of Antigonish at 863-1117.

BACKGROUND:

  • Since 2000 the Evolve Music & Awareness Festival has taken place in various locations throughout Antigonish County. Evolve has taken place at 1648 Meadow Green Road, owned by John and Judy MacDonald since 2006. In 16 years Evolve has grown from a festival of a few hundred participants to over 5000 in 2015. As the festival has grown so too have the issues with the health and safety of festival-goers and the community at-large.
  • Since July 2014 the Municipality has been working with Mr. Colter and a variety of community stakeholders including the RCMP, Emergency Health Services, Emergency Management Office, St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Pomquet Volunteer Fire Department, NS Tourism, and the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal. During this time the Municipality has taken on a role of facilitating dialogue among stakeholders and with Mr. Colter to address significant health, safety and security concerns.
  • In March 2015, the Municipal Council approved the Special Events By-law, which provides the Municipality authority to regulate large events with respect to health, wellbeing, safety and protection of persons. Previous to this the Municipality had no authority to regulate large events.
  • From July 9 – 12, 2015, the Evolve festival took place at 1648 Meadow Green Road, Antigonish County, operating as a 24/7 event, hosting approximately 5000 festival goers, volunteers and performers and presenting approximately 120 musical acts. Of note, over these four days:
    • 39% of all RCMP calls for service were Evolve-related.
    • 33 charges were laid directly attributable to Evolve: 7 for trafficking, 12 possession with the purpose of trafficking, 10 possession and 4 impaired driving.
    • EHS received 12 requests for service from the Evolve site: 8 patients were transported from Evolve to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, 3 responses to motor vehicle accidents attributed to Evolve. Patients were also brought in to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital for care by other means.
    • Cases seen at the Emergency Department were not straight-forward interventions, rather significant, often drug-related, medical events.
    • Beyond these statistics it is not possible to know of any other police or health-related interventions that may have occurred outside the Antigonish area.