Metal concert too heavy for county

Red Deer County has pulled the plug on a proposed heavy metal music festival because of security concerns.

Red Deer County has pulled the plug on a proposed heavy metal music festival because of security concerns.

Council unanimously rejected approving a permit Tuesday for the three-day Labour Day weekend event being considered for the Benalto Fair Grounds.

Bob Dixon, the county’s senior patrol officer, had a long list of concerns with the inaugural event organized by Edmonton’s BCT Productions and Gunrunner International Independent Music Network.

Dixon said the county has been unable to determine if the group has any experience running an event of this kind on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

“For this reason, there are concerns about the availability of RCMP if problems arise, as they are usually busy, particularly at night, during long weekends,” Dixon told council.

As part of a submission, concert backers said they planned to hire two off-duty Sylvan Lake RCMP officers to help keep an eye on the crowd.

However, when Dixon checked that out with police the Sylvan Lake detachment commander said no officers would be allowed to work security at the event.

Dixon said he was also unable to confirm that other promised security personnel, St. John’s Ambulance staff and volunteer firefighters would be coming.

In a report to council, Dixon notes that the heavy metal-focused Coors Lite Trauma Tour event in Sylvan Lake drew many clients who “exhibited extremely negative behaviour which resulted in a high police presence and response.

“It is reasonable to assume that some of these same elements may be drawn to the proposed event in Benalto, given the similarities in genre.”

Cameron Noyes, one of the Edmonton organizers of the Harvesting Hell — Metal Open Air event, was disappointed with the county’s adversarial approach to the event, which has already been moved to Bent River Ranch near Drayton Valley.

Noyes, who regularly organizes festivals, said security was to be handled by professional firms with experience in major events such as the Big Valley Jamboree and a large group of volunteers. While off-duty Sylvan Lake officers were not available, police could have been hired from elsewhere.

Noyes said he can’t believe that concerns over some “yahoos” in Sylvan Lake would sink a professionally organized music event.

But when it became clear that the county was not supportive, organizers found another venue for the event. It is expected to attract up to 1,200 heavy metal and hard rock fans to a lineup including Atheist, Gnostic, Dayglo Abortions and Dead Jesus. Event information can be found at

Just Posted

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

Red Deer-area dads going through divorce are invited to Man Up

Support group formed to focus on positive activities, networking

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

Most Read