EDITORIAL: Festival furor part of the deal

Though some are opposed to noisy Rifflandia, it deserves to stay in Victoria

Rifflandia, the increasingly popular music festival that took over Royal Athletic Park and other outdoor and indoor venues last weekend, was heard far and wide by residents of Victoria, Saanich and even Oak Bay.

While the event attracted thousands of happy concertgoers, not everyone enjoyed the tunes pumping from the speakers at RAP and behind Phillips Brewery on Government Street.

Police departments and the city bylaw officials fielded dozens of calls about noise levels, from neighbouring residents and even those who live well away from the outdoor venues.

Based solely on that record, some might jump to the conclusion that the festival has overstayed its welcome in Victoria.

But one has to look at the other side of the equation before passing judgment.

Not only does the festival provide economic benefits to the city and region, the efforts organizers make to create an environment that is respectful, flexible and family friendly is commendable.

City staffers confirmed this week that the festival operated within the limits from a decibel perspective, outside of a handful of times when they were told to turn down the volume, which they did promptly.

Residents of Victoria have seen festivals come and go, for various reasons. Here we have a festival lauded as a well-run, family friendly event – not without its bumps and challenges – that has the potential to further enhance the city’s image as a musical haven for established and up-and-coming performers.

Festival producers Atomique Productions, familiar with the city’s tendency to listen closely to residents’ complaints, are well aware that any missteps could cost them an opportunity to hold future concerts at this venue, which has proven to be its most popular based on numbers. It’s in their best interest to play by the rules, and so far they have.

If we want to continue attracting important cultural events such as this, we need to grin and bear it for a few days, tough as that can sometimes be.