Fire concerns and the provincial state of emergeny forced the cancellation of the inaugural North Okanagan OM Festival, set to debut at the Monashee Woodlands Retreat Aug. 25-27. (Photo submitted)

Fire concerns cancel festival debut

Steve Gosselin of SMG Endeavour had been building up to this point for months

Steve Gosselin of SMG Endeavour had been building up to this point for months.

Everything was in place, and the inaugural multi-genre roots music North Okanagan OM Festival was set to debut Aug. 25-27 at the Monashee Woodlands Retreat, but Mother Nature had other plans.

“It’s a sad day for me today as I am forced to announce the cancellation of the North Okanagan OM Festival due to fire hazard concerns,” Gosselin said. “The venue owners have made it very clear on unfortunately short notice that they cannot allow the festival to take place, primarily due to the province wide state of emergency and risk of fire. Even the moss on the grounds is dry and crumply — it is a very valid concern.”

The OM festival — an abbreviation for organic music, organic modalities, organic meals, organic methods, and organic merriment — sought to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles for the people in the Okanagan.

“OM represents all things,” Gosselin said. “It can be considered as the seed of all creation. This simple word contains all the power of the universe. It is the beginning, the middle, and the end — the past, present, and future.”

Okanagan locals Lowell Friesen and Tiger Moon were set to grace the stage, alongside several travelling artists including Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron of coastal B.C. and Ghostly Hounds of Montreal, alongside presentations and workshops on green building, eco-care, and self-sustainability to promote symbiotic living with nature in a healthy and sustainable manner.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have come to this decision,” Gosselin said of cancelling. “I have been working relentlessly on this endeavor with an amazing partner from the OmHaven Institute Society. David Pilz, thank you so much for all you have done. A big thank you also goes out to the Monashee Arts Council and all of the other generous contributors, artists, vendors, facilitators, and presenters of the festival and my deepest apologies that it couldn’t come to fruition at this time.”

However, Gosselin doesn’t plan on backing down.

“The dream remains and will unfold at a future date, hopefully for 2018.”

Full refunds for ticket purchasers will be available Aug. 24.