New Big Time Out festival host ‘nervous but excited’

Don McClellan is "nervous but excited" about hosting The Big Time Out at Ash Berry Farm, which he and wife Louisa operate in Royston immediately adjacent to the Cumberland boundary.

Ash Berry Farm (A)

Ash Berry Farm (A)

Don McClellan is “nervous but excited” about hosting The Big Time Out at Ash Berry Farm, which he and wife Louisa operate in Royston immediately adjacent to the Cumberland boundary.

The farm is the alternative venue to Village Park where Cumberland council will not allow the Aug. 12 and 13 music festival to be held this year. Council heeded an RCMP recommendation to deny the Cumberland Village Works application due to security concerns.

“We were always the backup plan,” said McClellan, the new owner of the Waverley Hotel, which regularly hosts Cumberland Village Works performances.

While he realizes numbers will be down this year, McClellan is confident TBTO will still be an amazing show. Juno winner Bedouin Soundclash headlines the festival.

The scaled-down event will not have a beer garden as in past years. Festival artistic director vig Schulman is not required to obtain a permit if fewer than 1,000 people attend.

For McClellan, the “fun has turned into nervousness” as Friday approaches, but his jitters should be alleviated by the presence of security officials from Vancouver outfit Live Host.

“Their credibility is topnotch,” said McClellan, who feels liability concerns of police and council were  overblown. “I think the whole liability issue got confused.”

He notes insurance allows businesses such as the Mt. Washington Alpine Resort to offer high-risk activities to the public.

McClellan is offering about 3.5 acres of his farm to festival-goers, including an area for camping.

He hopes this weekend is a once-in-a-lifetime event at his premises because removing TBTO from the village can be tough on area businesses.

“For everybody it’s better in Cumberland,” he said, noting a Facebook comment that promises to ‘dance lightly and to treat as our own.’

“Let’s just have an amazing event,” McClellan said. “The bottom line message is respect.”

• • •

Tickets for the 2011 Big Time Out are sold out.

If you don’t have a ticket, your best bet is to find someone you trust who’s selling one. Selling and buying is happening on The Big Time Out 2011 Facebook page.

Kids 12 and younger are still free. However, since Cumberland Village Works must keep the number of people on the field under 1,000 at all times, there may be a slight wait to get in if attendance is at capacity at a given moment.

Gates open Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Camping check-in for those camping onsite is between noon and 9 p.m. on Friday.

The new 2011 venue, Ash Berry Farm in Royston, is at 3210 Royston Rd., two kilometres from the TBTO’s usual home in Village Park.

There will be a by-donation shuttle courtesy of Comox Taxi running from Cumberland to the festival. It will run from when gates open to the end of the show each day.

More transportation, parking and camping information is available at

There will be bag checks at the gate. Don’t bring glass bottles because they can break, and don’t bring bottles of booze.

The forecast is for sunny weekend. To stay happy, stay hydrated: bring your reusable, non-glass water bottle and fill it frequently from the taps around the site. Sunblock, hats and layered clothing are great ideas, too.

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