Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry Friday extended her order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people. She added this included limiting drive-ins to no more than 50 vehicles.
The drive-in concert was a free fundraising event and album launch party, with the intention of bringing a bit of ‘normalcy’ to music lovers in Prince George. It was designed in a safe and socially responsible manner to raise spirits, bring together the community, and met the standards of safety as informed by the recommendations and advisement of Northern Health with measures in place to mitigate all risk and safety hazards, including a COVID Mitigation Plan, says organizer Kyle Sampson.
“Historically, music has brought people together through major crises around the globe. This concert was designed because of this pandemic and in response to the crisis, to safely and responsibly help people in our community gather as restrictions begin to relax,” he said.
Rooftop Rock Drive-In Concert organizers were made aware of the order and have postponed the event as a result.
“To say that we’re disappointed and frustrated by the lack of clarity and last-minute communication as it pertains to our event is well beyond an understatement,” says event producer, Kyle Sampson. “We wholeheartedly disagree with how the order was delivered and the lack of clarity it provides, but we’re complying and postponing the event because following these recommendations is the right thing to do.”
The last order regarding public gathering restrictions came from the provincial government on March 16, over two months ago regarding mass gatherings, and the event was designed to adhere strictly and exceed to those safety precautions.
“I believe that citizens in BC are doing their best to follow and adhere to government direction and recommendations; however, receiving this information almost literally at the very last moment, 4:30 on a Friday before the event on Saturday, is beyond an inconvenience,” said event partner,” Selen Alpay. “It’s a real hit to everyone who has come together to raise the spirits of people in our community, those who are just trying to navigate through these constant changes and enjoy some fantastic music.”
The concert was originally slated for the PG Canadian Tire rooftop and parking lot, and moved to the parking lot at Exhibition Park which was a bigger location to accommodate the growing interest and ensure safety was paramount in the planning. The parking lot at Exhibition Park provided more space, which allowed for greater physical distancing between patrons: a minimum of ten feet, said Sampson.
Vehicles were to be parked in a checker-board type pattern leaving every other space empty. The row behind each vehicle would be staggered from the one in front, providing patrons with the best view possible of Studio 720, who were to be playing from the roof of CN Centre. Despite enhanced spacing, patrons would still be required to stay in their vehicle and must follow all laws and health orders that are in place. A large volunteer base would monitor and enforce the parameters.
Donations are still being accepted for the fundraiser, now until the new event date. Wheelin’ Warriors of the North is a cycling team who raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation. The goal for Rooftop Rock is to bring in $10,000 of donations to their fundraising. Donations from the event are being accepted here: https://bit.ly/RooftopDonation
When a new date is determined, for those who are unable to attend the event in person a live stream will be offered. The evening will still feature some of Prince George’s finest in local music. Studio 720, a local hard rock band, playing a variety of classic covers, mixed with a number of originals. The band recently launched their newest LP titled “Smokes, Let’s Go” which is available now on all streaming platforms. Additional information about the band can be found online at: www.facebook.com/studio720music