Festival organizers address concerns

Complaints regarding the ponderosa Music Festival last September brings a reponse from event organizers.

The Saturday night stage at the inaugural Ponderosa Music Festival in 2013.

For Kris Hargrave and Kia Zahrabi, organizing a music festival had been a dream of theirs for some years and right from the beginning they had envisioned Rock Creek as the hosting community. Last September long weekend the Rock Creek Fairgrounds were the venue for the first Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival.

But at the November 2013 fall fair association meeting there were complaints of noise expressed by some nearby neighbors.

There was considerable discussion of the complaint at the meeting with the decision being made to send Ron Palmer, head of the fair board’s contract committee, back to Hargrave and Zahrabi to see if an accommodation could be reached regarding decibel levels and hours of playing the amplified music.

On Dec. 2, Ponderosa organizers issued a press release to respond to the complaints.

“We have spoken with the board and are aware of the concerns voiced by members of the community. In order to gain community support we are:

1) working on informing residents of Rock Creek on who we are, what our new festival is all about and how we see it benefiting the community, and

2) working with our stage/sound contractor and the board to develop a reasonable plan that addresses the issue of noise.”

“Recent news reports stated that some residents living near the fairgrounds site had voiced complaints of the level of the sound system during the event,” read the media release. “To address these issues, festival organizers are looking into potential alternatives to the previous stage setup and/or music schedule. They are currently working closely with their professional stage and sound crew to look at various options including adhering to a maximum decibel level after a certain hour in the night.”

Zahrabi confirmed that Palmer had asked how they felt about shutting down at 11 p.m. or midnight.

“From our perspective it is not something we could consider,” Zahrabi told the Times in a telephone interview. “We are early in gaining a reputation and as far as having people come that far—especially Vancouver and Calgary—we would really like to keep it going like we did last year.”

“So we told him we would be willing to work with the community,” add Zahrabi. “That’s the biggest thing we want to make sure the community is on our side. Show them there are more benefits than negatives.”

He explained that because Monday is the holiday on that weekend they would like to run late on both Saturday and Sunday. They have ideas to get the wider community involved with the concert—perhaps through bands playing at local pubs.

In the cover email accompanied the press release organizers wrote, “Since we started planning the event over a year ago, we knew that getting the support of the community was the only option and that achieving this was not going to be a simple task. But needless to say, we are up for the challenge and are keen to work with residents of the community to make our event a big success.”