Monashee Music Festival organizers have received a green light to begin planning and applying for permits for the 2023 edition.
Founder Andy Bowie addressed Sicamous council virtually Wednesday, Nov. 30 to review the success of the 2022 festival and ask for council’s support in applying for permits for next year’s shows.
The main barrier in the festival’s success was the lack of camping available close to the Sicamous Dog Park where the festival was held. Sicamous motels and campgrounds were utilized, but another campsite close to the festival was needed. Bowie explained many guests had to drive back to Kelowna or Kamloops after the shows and so weren’t able to spend as much money on beverages available at the festival or at local restaurants. This impacted the profits made by the festival.
Sgt. Murray McNeil and Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino also had concerns about people crossing the highway to return to their campsites with the dim lighting on a busy road, Bowie said.
For this year, Bowie asked council to review the Agricultural Land Commission’s (ALC) stance concerning where camping is allowed on properties near the dog park.
The district’s non-farm use application expired on Sept. 20, 2022 and council recently authorized another submission to the ALC. One of the conditions of this application is that, if the dog park is used for community events, no other properties can be used for camping nearby.
Council has a meeting planned for later this week to discuss this application, and it agreed to ask for that condition to be removed.
If a local property owner in the area wanted to host camping, they would have to submit an application for non-farm use on their personal agricultural land.
From July 22-23 last year, the weekend festival saw around 3,000 guests attend the live music event at the dog park. Bowie noted motels, campgrounds, small businesses and local services benefited from the influx of tourism the festival brought, and that approximately $10,000 was raised for the Mamas to Mamas charity supporting low-income mothers and caregivers. As well, over 500 tickets were given to first responders, nurses and care aides.
The festival received positive feedback from guests, both locals and tourists, the past Sicamous mayor and police.
Council voiced its support for Monashee Music Festival to return, citing its popularity and attendance. Bowie was encouraged to move forward with a proposal to submit to the District of Sicamous.