After months of quiet about the location for Atmosphere Gathering — a new three-day festival in August featuring music, art and food — organizers announced Cumberland’s Village Park as their choice.
“We reserved the Cumberland Village Park as an option for this event back in the fall, and we had also approached Camp Gilwell (near Forbidden Plateau Road) in Courtenay in October to host this event,” Vig Schulman of Cumberland Village Works – one of three organizations involved in the event – told Cumberland council Monday.
“The reason that (Camp Gilwell) was compelling for us was because there was proximity to a very natural environment there; it was right beside the river and there was wilderness-style camping.
“This proved to be a little bit more complex than we had thought. We went through the process with the scout camp; we signed a rental agreement with them … When we approached the CVRD (Comox Valley Regional District), however, they informed us that the scout camp was not technically zoned to allow for third-party rentals at this time.”
According to a staff report to the CVRD Electoral Areas Services Committee, Scouts Canada leases the site from the Province, and the Province “does not support the use of the site for third-party events.”
Scouts Canada would need an amendment on its lease agreement with the Province in order to move forward with this event.
Schulman noted an amendment would take time and Atmosphere Gathering is scheduled for Aug. 15-17, so organizers decided to move forward with plans to host the festival at Village Park.
A collaboration among Cumberland Village Works, Little Island Productions and Gourmet Girls, the event would feature live and electronic music acts, community meals and a variety of activities such as spoken word, dance performances, yoga and nature walks.
Schulman told council this event would be an exciting one for Cumberland.
“This is a very conscious event. This is something different. This is a twist,” he said. “We feel with all of this into the mix it’s going to be an amazing event.”
Cumberland Village Works’ Melissa Roeske added: “It has potential to bring a lot of economics to downtown, and also to really showcase Cumberland once again as this arts and culture hub.”
Schulman and Roeske requested an exemption from the Village’s noise bylaw for Aug. 15-17.
They also requested Sixth Street be closed temporarily between Dunsmuir and Keswick Avenues — with the exception of local traffic — to ensure clear access to the park.
Their letter to council noted organizers have been working with Village staff to ensure requirements are met for a park-use permit, too.
A staff report regarding the noise bylaw exemption and road closure request is expected to come before council for consideration at its June 23 meeting.
Roeske noted organizers have been working with the Comox Valley RCMP to ensure the event is safe, insurance is in the works, Footprints Security Patrol has been contracted and noise mitigation measures are planned, among other things.
The festival would feature a main stage and two secondary stages, shuttles to and from the event and camping on-site with additional camping at Comox Lake.
Organizers do not plan to have a beer garden, Schulman told council, adding the event would be all-ages.
According to Schulman, the event would be smaller than past events held in Village Park, (such as the Big Time Out), with about 1,500 attendees expected.
A few of the musical acts booked for Atmosphere Gathering are Chali 2na, A Tribe Called Red and Blackalicious.
For details, visit www.atmospheregathering.com.