Big Time Out negotiating return to Cumberland this year

The 2012 Big Time Out music festival appears to be coming back to Village Park in Cumberland.

The 2012 Big Time Out music festival appears to be coming back to Village Park in Cumberland.

The event — held last year at Ash Berry Farm in Royston — is tentatively scheduled to proceed Aug. 18 and 19 at its usual location.

“The Village is happy with the early initiative we’ve taken this year,” BTO producer Kevin Haughton said Wednesday.

“One thing that’s pleased me more than anything is to be able to say that we are bringing it back to the Village Park. The response on that notion alone has been beautiful. It’s (back) where it belongs.”

Cumberland Village Works and the village are entering into a five-year agreement to enable the event year after year, as opposed to revisiting standard documents such as evacuation, fire exiting and transportation plans.

“We’ll be able to direct our energy at ensuring the park is operationally ready, and that security is put in place,” said Dave Durrant, manager of community services.

Last year, Cumberland council denied an application to hold the festival at the park, siding with police concerns about security. The killing of 19-year-old James Denton, who was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old near the entrance to Vanier Secondary following a music festival at the exhibition grounds in Courtenay, figured in the RCMP’s decision to not endorse the Big Time Out.

While there are still procedures to follow with the village and police, Haughton is confident the 2012 show will be the best ever, promising “some magical surprises” both aurally and optically.

The event will be an all-ages extravaganza with no beer garden — as was the case last year — which resulted in a “whole other vibe,” Haughton said.

“It opened the doors to a whole other breadth of people to come to the show.”

This year, organizers intend to look at a model to encompass businesses in the downtown core.

“It will be a festival within a festival,” Haughton said. “The streets of Cumberland will be likened to a South by Southwest feeling. It shines a different light on the village.”

Check http://thebigtimeout.com/ and Facebook for updates.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com