The Tall Pines Music & Arts Festival is returning this summer and organizers are asking Gravenhurst council to help them increase affordable accommodation options by allowing lot 21 by the Wharf to be used for temporary camping.
Organizer Kevin Goodman said that they were looking for a “bigger, better festival” but that local accomodation prices were “out of reach for many fans, especially millennials who are looking to come out and go to the show, but then have to find lodging in some rather expensive and pricey places.”
Goodman said they were hoping to create a “unique overnight camping situation, what we are calling Tall Pines Trailer Park, as a working name.” After scouting locations, they identified Lot 21 at the Wharf, “the large, unpaved cobblestone lot, which has traditionally been boat and trailer parking in the past. It would potentially be an RV/trailer-only scenario.”
Goodman showed data from the previous festival, showing that 30% of festival goers came from the Muskoka region, “meaning 70% came from other places in the province or Canada.”
“This is an amazing place to host a festival, but this region has the highest average daily room rate in the province…you don’t have the same hotel and accommodations and availability compared to other places where we have produced shows in the past,” explained Goodman. “We are seeking a temporary overnight by-law change, regarding the ability to have overnight parking in the Wharf in order to house trailers over the course of the festival.” Currently overnight camping is not permitted.
This would mean the lot would have “capacity for 45 trailers or RVs, 24 hour security posted, Port-a-potties, garbage bins and two large generator crank-up lights so we can light the lot for people returning from the festival, no later than 11p.m.”
Coun. Hunter asked if other locations had been looked at and expressed concern about excessive noise for neighbours.
Goodman said that they were focusing on this spot in large part because of walking access, as they are already spending “significant dollars on shuttle buses from neighbouring resort properties and potentially overflow parking…with alcohol consumption, we’d like people to walk back to their sites.”
He also welcomed any suggestions for other locations that offered similar proximity and ease.
Coun. Morphy asked about tent camping and Goodman said that currently that was not on the table. RV passes would be purchased alongside festival tickets on Ticketmaster, and then when the allotted spots were sold, no more passes would be issued.
Coun. Strength asked if there had been any negative feedback previously. Goodman replied that there was one complaint and that two people had been asked to leave over the course of the weekend. No fireworks and no fires would be permitted in the camping area.
Overall, Goodman said, “we need to find a cost-effective option so people can come into the region to enjoy the festival, the shops and amenities and everything on offer.”
Mayor Lorenz said that Town staff had already been in discussion with Goodman about the request for an RV camping area. The resolution instructing Administration to investigate options to present to council later was carried.
The Tall Pines Music & Art Festival is scheduled for June 16-17, 2023. For more information, see https://www.tallpinesfestival.com/early-bird
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