Letter: Woman Tells Her Experience With Lack Of Organization At Big Music Fest

[UPDATE: June 28th, 7:45 a.m.]

[amateur video of shuttle bus mayhem in Bobcaygeon via YouTube]


[UPDATE: June 27th, 3:05 p.m.]

Here is an email from the Manager of Municipal Law Enforcement for the City of Kawartha Lakes addressing the parking issues that Donna Herold raised in her letter—scroll down below to read Donna's original note.

Good morning

On Saturday 25 June some of my officers worked the Tragically Hip Concert with regards to parking around the venue and in Lindsay, Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon in and around the shuttle bus locations.  Our function was to keep the roads clear for the shuttle busses and emergency vehicles as well as the citizens living near these locations.

Unfortunately when my officers were in the vicinity of Fenelon Falls High School they were flagged down by Mr. Christie who identified himself as the Principal of the High School who then complained about the numerous parked vehicles on School property and the fact the people at this location were drinking and urinating all over the school.  He was advised that we couldn’t address anything except the parking and the Police should be called for the other complaints. He asked that all vehicles be tagged as they don’t have permission to park on the school property as the property is signed regarding unauthorized parking.

As procedure the officers issued tags for “Park without owner’s consent”.  While the officers were tagging the vehicles Mr. Christie advised that he was the Vice Principal, not the Principal , but as he is still a representative of the school the officers continued tagging.  The officers then left the area to continue patrol.

It wasn’t until later in the night those complaints began coming in to Councilor Elmslie and confirmed through Economic Development that permission had in fact been granted by the Principal.

I have advised the Service Centres and my staff that ALL of these tickets will be cancelled and if someone sends in the money by mail, it will be reimbursed to them.

Please be advised that our job was only to protect the citizens of City of Kawartha Lakes and provide the service they expect.  We would not have considered tagging these vehicles unless we received a complaint.  Our main purpose was to tag illegally parked vehicles and vehicles parked in front of fire hydrants or peoples driveways as well as keeping the shuttle and emergency routes clear.

 If you have any other complaints or concerns please contact me.

Gordon Garfield

Manager – Municipal Law Enforcement

City of Kawartha Lakes


[original post]

Big Music Fest happened on the weekend and by all accounts, the bands were fantastic. But there have been tweets about the poor planning, and this Examiner article also mentions some of the complaints. Here, word for word, is one woman's story who wrote in to PTBOCanada:

Please note that the Big Music Fest, Tragically Hip concert held in Bobcaygeon Sat. June 25th, in and of itself was awesome! By awesome I'm referring to the performers and the music!
However, I have never seen, experienced such a disgraceful lack of organization and disrespect for people in my life.

There are three issues that need to be addressed!
First, shuttles were arranged for people to chose the responsible mode of transportation as well to reduce the number of people that would otherwise drive to the event where parking was a nightmare! So, a group of us middle aged Hip fans, chose to purchased advanced shuttle tickets and not risk drinking and driving, or try to find parking for several vehicles.
Coming from out of town, we had no choice but to drive to where the shuttle pick up location was for our group. In our chosen location of Fenelon Falls, High School. There was no other option for most of us to get to the shuttle locations other than to drive our own vehicles, park our vehicle, and catch our shuttle.
Imagine our shock to find that upon reaching the shuttle location, we found that we were not permitted to park at the shuttle location, which for all shuttle locations were a high schools or Municipal buildings! Upon initially parking in the school parking lot, every single vehicle had a parking ticket under their windshield wiper!!!
We were shocked and extremely angry. We stopped a police car who just kept patrolling these parking lots and asked her about the parking. She told us no one was permitted to park in any of these parking spots! We than asked her what we were suppose to do , her response was that she just wished we all would go home!!! Seriously, are you kidding me. We had just arrived to our shuttle location looking forward to this concert! It was 5:30pm and we excited to be on our way to have fun. We hadn't even started yet!
She told us we were not permitted to park on the school property, Municipal parking, or anywhere where a no parking sign was posted around town!
At this point hundreds of cars were parked not only in these not permitted parking locations, but everywhere and anywhere. Good luck finding a parking spot! And parking tickets graced vehicles everywhere. Fortunately we finally found parking for our cars, some distance from the shuttle location.
Having lived in The City of Kawartha Lakes for 23 years now, we have paid taxes for all the schools and municipal buildings and parking lots through our taxes! Essentially, we the tax payers own these parking locations. They are not private property! It was a Sat. which means there were no students or staff at any of these locations! There was absolutely no acceptable reason why those of us who lived several km. away from the shuttle were denied parking in publically funded locations, or be penalized for doing so!
This issue made no sense and was simply a money grab by our own township! What were we suppose to do? Get a shuttle to get to our shuttle??? And living in a rural area, no public transportation is available for hundreds of us!
All tickets issued at these locations should be thrown out, otherwise our taxes should be reduced, not to mention the legal ramifications a parking ticket may have on some individual's insurance and police records!

Second issue: the return shuttle service!

This issue was a serious unacceptable situation that ruined a great concert!!!
There was absolutely no organized plan in place to deal with 10 to 15 thousand people who paid for a shuttle from Lindsay, Fenelon, and Bobcageon, as well as an unbelievable amount of chartered shuttles/ buses and other shuttle services.
Thousand of individuals piled around the area of where shuttle and buses were to pick up people to be returned to their original shuttle destination.
The majority of the thousands of people reached the concert around 5 to 6pm. Which means we stood for 5+ hours to watch the concert, and were than forced to stand in the rain for another 3 to 4 hours waiting for shuttles!! There were absolutely no people organizing areas that would have at least marked a location where people could wait for their specific shuttle. Instead thousands were forced to be hurdled to muddy disgusting locations as a huge group confused and extremely upset and forced to stand for another 3 to 4 hours in the rain after having already stood for almost the same amount of hours watching the concert! There were thousands that were forced to stand for up to 10 hours straight!
It was complete miracle a riot did not break out! It came close several times! People were tired, angry, and in pain by being forced to stand so long!
For our group, we worked our way up to the location of shuttle pick up at approximately 11pm. and did not get on our shuttle until 2:30am!!!
Than after having to endure that human rights breach, were greeted to a parking ticket once we were returned to our drop off location!
It was a disgraceful situation that ruined a great concert! The organizer of this Big Music Fest should be held accountable! The thousands of us forced into this situation, will never attend another event hosted by this incompetent organization, The Big Music Fest, again, ever as a result!
And the township should be held accountable for issuing those parking tickets, many of whom will be going to court to fight these unjustified tickets!

Many are extremely physically in pain for having to stand for so long after having already stood for so long during the concert!

The township ruined our concert as did the people responsible for organizing this event! Accountably here is a must! And my taxes should be reduced as I no longer believe one cent of our taxes should be allocated to our schools when we can't even park in a parking lot we pay for, during an event that was held during a time when it is not in use!
Sincerely one extremely individual speaking on behalf of thousands of other seriously pissed of individuals!
Donna Herold


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