CITY CENTRE — FVDED in the Park attracted thousands of happy concert goers to Holland Park over the weekend, but some who live nearby were less than impressed.
The two-day festival of electronic, R&B and hip-hop turned Surrey’s Holland Park into a “block-party environment” for the second straight year on July 2 and 3.
It sold out, attracting 40,000 people over the two days.
Cheryl Jewhurst lives in the area and called the level of noise from the event “outrageous” and described it as “relentless pounding.”
Jewhurst told the Now she was livid that the event went late on Sunday. The show ran from noon to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
“By around 6 o’clock Sunday I thought I was going to go mad,” she said. “It was too late. I thought 6 o’clock Sunday is when it should have ended because people have to get up in the morning. We couldn’t even sit out on our deck because we couldn’t hear each other.”
While she was annoyed with last year’s event, this year she took action, emailing Surrey’s city manager, Mayor Linda Hepner and the rest of council.
“I’m just really angry,” she told the Now Monday. “The people who pay taxes in the area, we don’t get a choice in this. The entire weekend was just a blowout for us.”
Surrey’s parks manager Owen Croy said the city received 23 complaints about the event (12 tweets, two on Facebook, six emails and three phone calls).
— Stuart (@_superman1971) July 4, 2016
“That number to me doesn’t strike me as overwhelming,” said Croy, “if you consider 20,000 people each of the two days who were entertained. If you follow social media there were a lot of positive comments.”
As for the complaints, Croy said they varied.
“Some people were concerned that it was their Sunday, and they had to go to work the next day because it went into the evening,” he noted.
Croy said the city believed it would be reasonable to have the event run until 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday.
“We just try to be sensible about how the artists feel. They don’t want to all be out in the sun and right now it’s light out until 8:30,” he said, noting darkness is required for some performances that involve lights.
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Croy said others complained about the style of music or that they couldn’t enjoy their backyard because of the noise.
The city received a similar number of complaints during last year’s FVDED event, and that goes for other events held at Holland Park as well, said Croy.
“We host Fusion Festival in the park as well and that’s coming up on July 23 and 24. Each year we get a few complaints about that event,” he revealed. “There are some people who love Bhangra music and some who don’t.”
But Jewhurst said she doesn’t find the Fusion Festival nearly as intrusive.
“It isn’t music all day every minutes of the day,” she said. “This one, it’s just focused on the music.”
If the event is held again next year, Jewhurst said she’d leave town for the weekend to avoid the racket.
But she hopes the city will consider moving it to a different location.
“I realize it draws a lot of people and revenues, but there’s got to be another place for that other than right downtown,” said Jewhurst.
FVDED in the Park was brought to Holland Park as a ticketed event by Live Nation Canada and Vancouver-based company Blueprint Events.
Holland Park was built by the City of Surrey as a venue to host large events, such as Deer Lake in Burnaby or Central Park in London.
And that’s part of what attracted organizers.
“I love that venue,” said Alvaro Prol of Blueprint. “It’s perfectly located next to SkyTrain, it has a great footprint, it also has power and water and things you need to be able to take care of people at this capacity.”
People no longer have to commit to a long drive and camping to attend a festival of this kind, he noted.
“There isn’t one like this anywhere in the Vancouver region,” said Prol. “The idea is to keep growing it and make it a must-go-to event in the city. To keep bettering it and get worldly recognition.”
Prol was thrilled this year’s event sold-out.
“We did 20,000 people a day, so 40,000 people, it’s a great number,” he said, noting last year the event drew a much more modest 26,000.
And people came from all over the world, he added.
This year there were three stages instead of two.
“Different stages was nice to see the site have some peak moments at different stages… This year just really had the festival vibe,” he remarked.
Asked if they planned to return next year, Prol said, “of course.”
There may be a fourth stage next year, he continued, and they plan to add even more activities to the site and “up the food game” as well.
“The future looks really bright,” Prol added.
With files from Tom Zytaruk