Electric Love Music Festival will not be returning to Cheam Fishing Village this summer, after organizers said they weren’t able to “come to terms” with the Cheam First Nation.
In a tweet Thursday (Feb. 28), the festival announced it will be postponed to 2020 as organizers haven’t worked out an agreement with the Cheam First Nation or found another venue for the annual event.
It is with great sadness we announce Electric Love Music Festival will be postponed until 2020. We have not come to terms with our current venue or found a location equal or better that is fully permitted to house our ever growing attendance. #danceandbefree pic.twitter.com/xmf5IFdIo3
— Electric Love Fest (@electriclove67) February 28, 2019
“We just haven’t been able to come to terms with the land providers this year,” Oliver Plé, director of operations, said. “At this point we announced last year on this date, and we just couldn’t wait any longer.”
Plé said the festival and the first nation hadn’t been able to come to an agreement about whether 2019 would happen, in regards to costs and whether “the Cheam band wanted to pursue continuing the relationship.”
“There’s definitely been some ups and downs every year with just getting the land signed over for the festival, and it just seemed like it was a little harder this year,” he said.
The Agassiz Harrison Observer has reached out to Chief Ernie Crey of the Cheam First Nation for comment, but has yet to hear back.
According to Plé, the size of the festival was one of the main reasons it was difficult to come to an agreement for 2019.
The festival has grown exponentially in the four years it’s been at the Cheam Fishing Village, just south of Agassiz. Starting at around 500 people, the Electric Love saw 4,500 visitors during the festival last year.
But the event, which bills itself as drug- and alcohol-free, hasn’t been without its rough spots over the years.
The music event has been controversial for residents in the area because of noise complaints. In the first three years, the festival had music going until 6 a.m. Last year, the music ended at 6 p.m. Sunday night.
Last year also saw a number of RCMP calls related to festival-goers, including one man who drove his vehicle into the crowd and another who released some local cows and dove into a manure pit.
Plé said those incidents weren’t brought up in any of the talks with the first nation recently, although they were discussed during the year-end review.
This won’t be the end of the road for the festival, however. Plé said they are still working with the Cheam First Nation to bring the festival back in 2020 and also looking to find other possible venues.
“I’m still looking for other land and we’re also still in communication with Cheam to see if 2020 will work,” he said. “We’re keeping all options open.”