Lil'wat Nation says 'no' to unsanctioned parties 

Organizers of the Impact festival relocate party to Kamloops after officials warn they would be trespassing

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE - No thanks Lil'wat Nation is seeking to put an end to unsanctioned parties on its reserve lands.
  • photo by Joel Barde
  • No thanks Lil'wat Nation is seeking to put an end to unsanctioned parties on its reserve lands.

The organizers of a three-day electronic music festival planned for Mount Currie have changed locations after the Lil'wat Nation declared that the festival was unsanctioned and that partygoers could be arrested.

The event, known as the Impact Transformational Charity Festival, was set to take place from Sept. 6 to 8 in Mount Currie, with all proceeds going towards harm reduction and clean-water projects, according to the organizers.

Headliners include Kotek, Pineo & Loeb and Case of the Mondays.

Yet last weekend, the festival organizers—Dusk2Dawn and Party Well Productions—announced that the event will be relocated to property outside of Kamloops.

The announcement comes as positive news to Lil'wat Nation, which is seeking to put an end to unsanctioned parties on its reserve lands.

Before the announcement was made, Lil'wat Nation Political Chief Dean Nelson and Lil'wat Nation Chief Administrative Officer Ernest Armann said that the First Nation has seen several unsanctioned parties this summer and that it has a formal approval process in place for such events.

The situation, they said, has gotten so bad that that the First Nation recently contacted Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, who informed them that they have the right to police such events under rules laid out in the Indian Act. "They are trespassing, and that's it," said Nelson of people who attend unsanctioned events.

"They don't have the permission of the people. They are just trespassing out and out."

Having people rave all night in the community is not in the best interest of the community members, said Armann.

"[People] come traipsing on to the reserve at all hours, and people don't know who they are, and there could be confrontations," said Armann. "We can't be having that kind of stuff. We need to protect all members of the community."

The majority of community members don't support such events, said Armann.

"We have to recognize that there are some people in the community who enjoy going to these things," he said, noting that the party was set to take place on one member's property.

"But I think that, for the most part, the majority don't support [them] and the things that go on there—and the assumptions of things that go on there."

In a statement to Pique from festival founder James Cohen, the organizers said that they received approval from Lil'wat Nation's hereditary chief and "the land owner" and that the organizers contacted the Lil'wat Nation's head office to seek formal approval "some months ago."

"The chief [and] council then went through a lengthy election [and] orientation period during which no approval could be made for this charity festival," reads the statement.

"Multiple festivals had taken place on this land previously this summer."

(In a follow up email, Cohen clarified that Party Well and Dusk2Dawn had no involvement with the organization of those events.)

Organizers of the Impact festival have been busy arranging a new home for the event.

"The community came together to find ... another beautiful home in Kamloops," the statement reads.

"The organizers personally called ticket buyers who were affected by distance, helping them with rides and party busses.

"With the demand being so high for this transformational festival, they haven't had to issue any reimbursements as many tickets have been re-sold to other keen festival-goers."

In addition to music, the festival will offer a number of "transformational workshops" aimed at inspiring festivalgoers to make a positive impact on the world.

"Attending IMPACT not only gains you entry into a life-changing festival, each participant also becomes a member of our group of change makers," said Cohen in the release.

"Impactors can literally have the time of their lives while saving lives."

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