Nova Scotia's Evolve Festival Forced to Relocate over Failed Medical Plan

BY Gregory AdamsPublished Apr 22, 2016

This year's Evolve Festival is set for early July, but it won't be taking place at its usual spot in Antigonish, NS. Owing to its lack of proper medical insurance, the fest's event licence has been revoked.

While the Municipality of the County of Antigonish says that Evolve organizers were notified last fall that they were due to submit info on a medical plan to obtain the permit by February 1, one has not yet been received.

Municipal clerk treasurer Glenn Horne said Evolve head Jonas Colter was made aware of the requirements in September and discussed the matter with officials in October and November. While Horne admitted he knew Colter was working on a plan with a doctor, they've apparently taken too long to produce one.

"That medical plan still has not come to fruition. We were actually told by Mr. Colter that he would have something for us by yesterday (April 21)," Horne told CBC.

He added: "We worked with him two months past February. He has been given ample time to get something together. It's his responsibility to put on a safe and healthy event. We need that to happen because otherwise our responsibility is to not permit it."

A statement on Evolve's Facebook page notes that organizers were alerted of the municipality's decision today. Despite the delay in producing the required paperwork, the festival wrote that "Evolve has always been committed to safety, wellness, and harm reduction."

"Despite what you have read in the media, we have been diligently working on a thorough and robust medical plan to meet both the needs of the festival and the county," it reads, adding that the hunt for a new festival location is ongoing. "Evolve 2016 will happen and we are excited about this new chapter and our evolution."

Last year, festivalgoer Dylan Champion, a 21-year-old from Prince Edward Island, died of natural causes on the Evolve festival grounds after suffering a seizure. His family did not blame the festival, though organizers had contemplated making changes to the format, from running the fest one less day to capping sets earlier in the evening.

Currently, Evolve is expected to take place between July 8 and 10. A lineup has yet to be revealed. You can find out more info on the event, which is currently selling tickets, over here.

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