Proposed overflow site for Rockin' River in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Music festival organizers ask for Mission council’s help

The Rockin' River Festival is hoping to move part of the event to a Silverdale farm

Mission’s Rockin’ River Festival organizers have requested the district’s help in appealing an Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) decision that rejected moving a portion of the venue to Silverdale.

“We’re getting bigger and bigger every year, and that’s one of the problems,” said Gordon Ruley at Monday evening’s council meeting.

Rockin’ River currently has a three-year contract remaining with Mission Raceway Park (MRP), and that continues to be the preferred location not only for organizers, but noise mitigation and access for emergency services.

But Ruley said because the festival, now in its fourth year, is beginning to turn a profit, they’re able to bring in bigger acts, which will draw larger audiences. Ruley expects crowds in excess of 30,000 to 40,000 people and MRP just can’t absorb those numbers.

Organizers submitted an application to the ALC last year for the Silverdale farm visible from on the north side of Lougheed Highway with the blue silo and red barn that is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Although the application had the written support of the previous council, it wasn’t approved. They now have until June 1 to appeal.

“I’ve lived here almost 50 years and I don’t think, other than when it was a dairy farm back in the ’80s, there has been any farming activity there at all,” he said.

There was one hay crop removed from the land last year, but Ruley said that was done in anticipation Rockin’ River would be approved by the ALC.

“So to say that this negatively impacts on farming is just fallacious.”

Ideally, organizers would like the farm to serve as overflow for parking, camping and food vendors. Ruley said they only want to use the land for seven days at most, three of which would be setting up and taking down equipment, and the owner of the property is willing to sign a 20-year contract.

“I can assure you have this council’s support, I think you know that. We’ll do whatever we possibly can to make sure you’re successful,” said Mayor Ted Adlem.

Council voted to have staff draft another letter of support to submit to the ALC and local MLAs, and approved extending hours to 1 a.m. on concert nights.

Rockin’ River 2012 is scheduled for Aug. 9-11. Visit www.rockinriver.com for details.