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Cavendish will get a 2nd music festival this July after council votes on it again

The permit will let the Sommo Music Festival take place for this year only, the week after Cavendish Beach Music Festival.   (Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit)
The permit will let the Sommo Music Festival take place for this year only, the week after Cavendish Beach Music Festival. (Brittany Spencer/CBC - image credit)

The council for the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico has overturned a decision it made two days ago — and granted a permit for a major new music festival this summer.

But there's a condition — the approval is for one year only.

It will allow Whitecap Entertainment to launch the Sommo Festival, a two-day rock concert and culinary festival July 14-15 — the weekend following the 2023 Cavendish Beach Music Festival.

But in future years, the company will have to reapply for a permit, and may face lobbying to shift from a July weekend. Some in the community suggested a new festival would be more welcome in June, or possibly September, when children are back in school and there are fewer families booking accommodations in the area.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

Councillors said 10,000 to 15,000 people per day are expected to attend the new festival.

Mayor Matt Jelley said a special meeting and a new vote was needed because of confusion over Monday night's vote.

In the earlier vote, councillors voted 3-2 to approve the planning committee's recommendation that Whitecap Entertainment's application to hold the festival that weekend be denied.

But at least one councillor asked for the topic to come up again because there was uncertainty about the wording of the motion.

Councillor Kay Hryckiw was the swing vote when councillors voted 3-2 to approve the festival's permit on Wednesday evening.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

With regard to residents of the area and business owners who objected to the planned dates, Whitecap Entertainment CEO Ben Murphy said the July date is non-negotiable this year because of a big-name act they want to book.

He wouldn't name the act.

The festival already has a rudimentary website as well as a Facebook page.