Past president of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society Jeff Leroy says that the fair board members decided against renting the fairgrounds to FarmFest organizers because they felt the venue was not the best choice for the heavy metal rock festival. Steven Deslauriers of Autumna, which organizes the event, wrote a letter to the editor of The Review in which he says, “Sadly, when it comes to a conversation about young people having fun in Vankleek Hill, it’s like talking to a brick wall, and I really think that needs to change!” Deslauriers outlines the economic benefits and local musicians he has hired during past years and says the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society has pushed the event out of town.
“We rented to them in 2018 and we were going year by year,” said Leroy, referring to the festival which has taken place at the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds in June for the past two years. “But we have to live beside our neighbours year-round. We have to respect our neighbours,” said Leroy.
The 2019 event sent beyond the noise by-law curfew of 11 p.m. due to technical issues earlier in the day and organizers, who had saved their headliners for the end of the evening, let them play.
Nearby residents had complained about the volume of the event the first year it happened, but FarmFest organizers visited the neighbours in 2019 and left letters advising them of the upcoming event.
Lead organizer Steven Deslauriers attended a meeting of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society in November 2019, asking for another chance to hold the event at the fairgrounds for a third year, committing to staying within the 11 p.m. noise curfew as per township regulations.
Since his request was rejected, Deslauriers says the event will take place in Glen Nevis at considerable cost due to the need to rebrand the festival.
The third edition has been renamed Heavy Metal FarmFest (formerly Vankleek Hill Farmfest) and will take place June 5, 6 and 7 in Glen Nevis. The event will offer performances by more than 50 bands and will offer on-site camping, bonfires, carnival-like activities, giveaways, onsite parking and a licensed bar, according to the Facebook event description.
Tickets and weekend passes are on sale now at pre-event discounted prices at: https://www.heavymetalfarmfest.com/#/