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Expanded Sound of Music/Ribfest proposed

To Community & Corporate Services March 3

The Burlington Sound of Music Festival (BSOMF) and Canada’s Largest Ribfest have applied to expand and enhance their respective events in 2015.  All of the changes are supported by staff.

The BSOMF changes include a ticketed kick-off concert (free in the past), an additional entertainment pod at Brant & Maria, and holding the parade a week before the festival, on a Sunday, and changing the route to end at Nelson Park with a marching band field show.

Changes to Ribfest include starting a day earlier, on Thursday, and adding fireworks 2-15 minutes long at 11 pm each night, Thursday to Sunday. The fireworks display is contingent upon sponsorship which has not yet been secured.

BSOMF and Ribfest will be required to consult with residents, businesses and churches before making these changes to their festivals.

Staff are also recommending approval of a new event: Artfest, May 30-31, in downtown Burlington. Organizers are currently exploring the Old Lakeshore Road area for a road closure.

Artfest Ontario annually produces four art & craft festivals; three in Toronto’s historic Distillery District and one in Kingston on Canada Day weekend. The event organizer wants to relocate one of the Toronto shows permanently. Event organizers anticipate 125-150 juried exhibitors in the first year with the addition of some free arts programming for families. The Artfest event will welcome an estimated 5,000-10,000 people per day and be free of charge for the public to attend. Artfest organizers are working closely with staff, BDBA, Tourism Burlington and myself to find a location downtown.

In 2014, the city hosted 158 events. In order to streamline overall event approval, staff are recommending that council delegate to staff approval of all events meeting established criteria, following consultation with the affected stakeholders and ward councillor.

Staff are also seeking council’s help to develop a corporate strategy for festivals and events, inclusive of recreation, sport and culture services. A strategic visioning workshop with council, staff and community event organizers is targeted for the Fall of 2015.

These recommendations and the BSOMF/Ribfest changes are contained in a report that will be considered by the Community & Corporate Services Committee March 3, and Council March 23, 1pm, City Hall. You can read the report on the C&CS agenda, Item 10.  To register as a delegation to speak to the item, visit: Register as a delegation

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. Sometimes Burlington residents disappoint me with their lack of pride when it comes to their city. This is amazing news! Sound of Music festival and Ribfest are huge events in he region and Burlington, and Burlington residents should be proud to host them! I’ve always disliked the fact that Sound of Music has to end at 11 on Friday and Saturday night which feels extremely early for such a large event on a weekend night when the majority of people do not have anything important happening the day after. I would like if the SOM would go until 12 on Friday and Saturday night, and I am sure that for two days this won’t have any major impact on downtown residents. It would be two nights of 365. Any complaints toward this very conservative time increase could be directed to the fact that you moved to the downtown core of the city. Moving to a tower in Toronto nobody expects the city to be quiet for them at 10:30 so they can sleep on a Friday night. Similarly with Burlington’s downtown it is the nightlife area of the city, and especially on two nights I am sure residents can handle the extra noise for one weekend.

    I cannot wait for this year’s SOM, I go every year, and every day of the event. I absolutely love the event and I love my city. Everyone that lives here should too!

  2. I will read the report. One of my biggest concerns with the big events is the amount of time and effort required well, well ahead of time to ensure a respectful and inclusive nature to the entire event. Many of the organizers will get carried away by ideas that may sound great to them, but that are not always in the best interests of the public and frequently exclude some. Event planning companies exist to make a profit. When push comes to shove – and unfortunately that does occur in crowded conditions – corporate goals will win out.

    I find the mismatch of organizations adds to the difficulty of establishing an overriding goal for the events. Event planning companies out to make a profit, city staff earnestly doing their part, Halton Police paid at time and half to supervise, armies of docile volunteers, expected to do their job, i.e., collecting/sorting garbage without questioning any decisions at all – it’s all very uneven and to me, very hierarchical.

  3. As a Downtown resident overlooking Brant I would appreciate it if the artists using the”entertainment pods” located on Brant be required to keep the volume on their loudspeakers to a reasonable level. Being subject to loud music for several hours for the duration of the Festival is most stressful.

  4. As a downtown resident I object and have voiced my displeasure in the past over the fireworks being done after 11.00, even one night is bad but now wanting 4 nights is absolutely not necessary. With young children in bed they are awakened, as well as our own peace and quiet.
    Fireworks if approved should be for one night before 11 as by law states for noise.

What's your take?

BDBA expansion recommended

Volunteers: Janes Walk; Legion; Sound of Music; Burlington Best nominations; Seniors registration & survey; Strategic plan survey;