Published Aug 08, 2018The Edmonton Folk Music Festival kicks off tomorrow (August 9), and in addition to acts like Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Decemberists and Neko Case, the annual event will also be attended by scheduled local law enforcement for the first time ever.
The Edmonton Police Service will deploy eight officers on the grounds, as opposed to their previous "walk through" strategy, as decided on during a meeting with festival producer Terry Wickham.
"My concerns was we were going from no police officers to eight," Wickham told CBC. "It's about perception. The perception can very quickly become reality. And I just didn't feel we were being listened to, it was being imposed on us without us having any say in it."
After meeting with the Edmonton police, Wickham said he is confident that "there will be enough ability to respond in the unlikely event that there was an incident."
The city of Edmonton, meanwhile, explained that its emergency preparedness policies have been updated in the wake of events like recent van attacks in Edmonton and Toronto.
"What festivalgoers will see is a small number of uniformed officers on hand in case anything unexpected occurs," the city told CBC. "They will be visible, just as they are visible at other festivals and events across Edmonton."
The Edmonton Music Folk Festival runs from August 9 to 12 at Gallagher Park in downtown Edmonton. Find full festival information here.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the number of on-site officers would be fewer than eight and that no police officers had previously been present at the festival.