Canada Rocks was last held in Grand Forks in August 2019. Photo: Facebook - Canada Rocks Fest

Canada Rocks was last held in Grand Forks in August 2019. Photo: Facebook - Canada Rocks Fest

Grand Forks council, Varabioff finalize arrangements ahead of Canada Rocks Fest

This August’s festival will be the first outdoor festival since the COVID

The stage is figuratively set for Grand Forks’ upcoming Canada Rocks Fest (Canada Rocks), following two city council resolutions Monday, March 28.

Council first approved a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) allowing promoter Chuck Varabioff to host the August festival at his 68th Avenue acreage.

READ MORE: Grand Forks’ Canada Rock Fest to return in 2022

READ MORE: Canada Rocks Fest lineup partly revealed

Addressing council at chambers, Corporate Adviser Daniel Drexler said the TUP permit grants Varabioff the right to host “up to two festivals a year,” one of which would have to go ahead in the first two weeks of August. All concert structures and equipment must be taken done within a week of the festival.

The city has meanwhile granted Varabioff a two-hour extension to Grand Forks’ noise bylaw, leaving time enough for festival-closer Theory of a Deadman to rock until 1 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.

“For all the bands, if they feel the crowd is absolutely awesome — and it always is — who’s to say they won’t play a long encore,” he mused.

Varabioff’s neighbourhood seems to be on board, according to strategic initiatives manager Graham Watt. Summarizing written responses from around 10 of his immediate neighbours, Watt said that, on top of there being no opposition, one respondent specifically endorsed the 1 a.m. noise cut-off.

Council then granted Varabioff the exclusive use of the city’s Angus MacDonald and Dick Bartlett parks for festival camping. He’d suggested nearby James Donaldson Park for that purpose, but Drexler said this fell through amid concerns to safeguard recent upgrades to the park’s baseball diamond.

Varabioff has agreed to pay the city $2,000 for this privileged access and has also put down a $2,500 damage deposit as part of his TUP. The festival has taken out liability insurance indemnifying the city, Varabioff said.

In the event that COVID-19 restrictions were to stay in place through the summer, Varabioff said the festival could only admit the first 5,000 ticket buyers, in the order of purchase. Ticket prices will go up starting May 1, reflecting rising inflation, especially due to rising fuel costs.

For information about tickets, camping or to see Canada Rocks’ lineup, visit the festival’s website at

The festival’s opening act takes the stage Thursday, Aug. 4.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City CouncilCity HallGrand Forksmusic festivals