Meatheads Mar VEMF

For the last several years, I've been going to VEMF-- the Victoria Electronic Music Festival. It was great when it was at Market Square: the space was a well with great acoustics. When it was moved up to Centennial Square it was okay. I liked the irony that the derelicts who nearly lived in Centennial Square were pushed out by a bunch of 20-somethings, loud music and a big beer garden.
This year was a lot more meathead-centric. I couldn't quantify it this year at first. It felt like a different mix. The beer garden was full of morons in trucker hats who probably didn't know the difference between Moby and Orbital. A friend of mine was nearly pushed into the fountain went two yayhoos were carousing with each other.
It turns out it wasn't our imagination (from the TC):

Victoria police arrested at least 10 people in response to 35 incidents in and around the event at Centennial Square. There were 10 fights, seven drug overdoses, three arrests for intoxication in a public place and several assaults and instances of mischief, domestic disputes and property damage, said Staff Sgt. Kerry Panton.

“There were seven overdoses and lots of alcohol — there was a beer garden there,” he said. “There was someone arrested in the area with ecstasy. Virtually all of the complaints were drug- and alcohol-related.”

Because of the morons-- the same morons who give the police excuses to strip search bus riders on Canada Day and the same morons who shut down First Night years ago-- (old) people are questioning if VEMF should be allowed to return. In its present form, I question if it should as well.

Some thoughts for how to de-meathead-ify VEMF:
- Go back to Market Square. Market Square has been under poor management for a number of years, but maybe they could be convinced to host the event again. I know their beleaguered retailers would love the foot traffic in the nearly-abandoned mall space. The space then isn't public space and it was a few fixed entrances. Bar the morons and their friends.
- Make it a ticketed event. You could not charge for tickets (just make having a wristband necessary); or you could put the event on the other side of the penny-gap. Make it an event that either need to show your iTicket (a $0.99 app you download from iPhone to show you have paid to attend) or you need a wristband for admission. That $0.99 expense is important because morons can't pay for anything but beer and McDonalds, so you would weed them out.
- Open some of the nightclubs at noon. This event runs from noon to 10PM outdoors. Why not put the event in range of some of the hosting night clubs. For example, put the event in the Capital Iron parking lot and keep the doors (and bars) open at Evolution from noon on. Heck, Victoria hates cars: barricade the foot of Discovery for the weekend to turn it into a permanent crosswalk.
- Call it. Consider downtown dead. By moving the event maybe it changes it up. See if Mayfair or Hillside Mall could give up corners of their parking lots. Many of the people at VEMF came out from Gordon Head, Oak Bay and other suburban areas, so why not put the event closer to the people? Those areas are well served by buses and it may change it up.


Falcona said…
While the ticketed idea and moving it to clubs is valid, its already done. Some of the weekend events do take place at Hush, Lucky Bar and a few other venues.

Evolution is now Rehab, go figure?
Mike DeWolfe said…
I know they have a lot of events at the nightclubs, but those nightclubs run nightclub hours. I'm suggesting that they open early-- maybe they replace the role of the beer gardens altogether. I wanted a drink while listening to the music, but I didn't need to do that while sitting in Centennial Square.
Eve said…
wasn't only at Market Square for 1 year???

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