UPDATE Apr. 19

Despite it’s title Thursday’s Waterloo Region Record article indicates that the neighbourhood meeting was mostly positive. That sentiment has been confirmed by a couple of people who were at the meeting and let me know what they thought.


I should have included in my last update that my wife and I have purchased tickets to the Big Music Fest for the Saturday. She’s a big Bryan Adams for so that made the decision easy. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the music and the day too but also look forward to getting an inside look at how the festival operates.

UPDATES Mar. 30: 

  • A meeting has been arranged for Apr. 16 at CHCC  as requested by Councillor Paul Singh and just recently confirmed. More details to come.
  • Great news! Event parking will not be permitted on city streets in and around the area of McLennan Park. Parking regulations will be strictly enforced throughout the weekend.
  • While the City of Kitchener has arranged $20 paid parking at Conestoga College (that can be purchased in advance) and a free shuttle service, I’d prefer if the parking was also free.
  • And overnight parking is not permitted, vehicle must be removed from lot by 2:00am sharp the next day which raises the possibility of people drinking more than planned and  being forced to drive. Keeping cars overnight should be allowed and a Project Ride check should be placed where everyone leaving is checked.
  • Learn more or purchase parking from the Big Music Fest website.

Original Post

When you learn that in 4 months, 30,ooo people are going to descend upon your neighbourhood for a 3 day music festival, you’re understandably going to have some concerns.

That’s the position that Ward 6 residents living near McLennan Park found themselves in over the last week with news breaking that the Big Music Fest is coming to the Kitchener Park in  July.

There’s been concern expressed about the bombshell announcement that took neighbours by surprise. An editorial in today’s Waterloo Region Record concludes saying, “Residents of the area have been blindsided. They have grounds to feel that their elected representative and city staff were more concerned about the promoter’s interests than their own. They have every right to feel aggrieved.”

Let’s not rush to judgement.

Ward 6 Councillor Paul Singh informs me via Twitter that he’s been pushing for public consultation for some time but has been told by staff it wasn’t necessary for an event at a District Park. He assures me public consultation will occur. He went further saying he agreed that city staff and organizers should work with neighbours to address their concerns.

Further, he agreed to a suggestion from a neighbour to reinvest some of the revenue back into the neigbhourhood. The suggestion was to improve roads but I’d see it better used to enhance the park. Maybe putting in electricity outlets for food trucks to use!

My perspective

On the one had, this situation reminds me of the Aud expansion where all logistics considered except predictable concerns of neighbours. But it’s too early to make that comparison.

I hope when Big Music Festival lineup is announced Tues. we’ll see details on parking and how noise being addressed. I further hope that city staff & Big Music Festival will be open to citizen ideas to improve upon plans for parking and noise and use if possible.

One parking idea to consider is prohibiting parking on nearby residential streets that Big Music Festival weekend. Kitchener citizen Mike Boos improved upon this idea by suggesting residents get a pass that allowed them to park on the street as usual.  

Another suggestion was to also give residents passes for their friends to park and attend the music festival. But I think that would work against the goal to keep residential streets from being clogged with parked cars and allowing the park’s neighbours to carry on with their weekend relatively normally. But perhaps friend and family parking could be allowed on driveways.

A couple other suggestions came via Twitter:

  • Kevin Kingsley suggest Ottawa Street be closed between Strasburg and Westmount and turned into a parking lot. An intriguing idea but if pursued I’d look for it to be a paid option with free options available further away. I expect Kevin would then like to see the parking fees donated to charity.
  • Nate Roberston suggests free GRT rides for people going to the music festival. Naturally, I love that idea!

I’m willing to provide the benefit of the doubt that parking and noise issues have been considered and addressed. So let’s wait till Tuesday to see what is announced to address the predictable concerns of residents. At the very least, neighbours should be given some idea about the process planned to learn and address their concerns.

3 thoughts on “Addressing neighbour concerns about Big Music Fest

  1. Hi James from what I have heard this event could be epic. I look forward to hearing who the performers will be. The ideas put forth in your blog should help alleviate some concerns and stress. At the end of the day, I see this as yet another great event that will put KW on the world stage. I think it will be a great promo for us all. And I’m sure there are good reason that venue was chosen over others.

    1. You’re right Denis! Definitely exciting to be having this event in KItchener. I know several of my Central Frederick Friends are very excited. Has the potential to be something special.

      Just hoping the people who happen to live nearby are considered.

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