Metal bands don’t rock council

Armstrong Open Air heavy metal event welcome in city despite concerns from ministerial association

Armstrong officials are ready to welcome a heavy metal concert back even though the event hit a sour note with some residents.

Armstrong Open Air, which featured 22 heavy metal bands, took place at the fairgrounds Friday and Saturday.

“We’re always looking for ways to get revenue for the grounds and any event that is well organized, we’d look forward to. It was well organized,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

“The event went off fairly clean. The police were happy.”

RCMP report there were a couple of incidents of public intoxication during the event.

On Monday, city council received a letter from the Armstrong Ministerial Association, which was written prior to Open Air being held.

“This event is set to offer a venue for violent images and ideas which threaten people and property,” said the association in the letter.

“It seems that this particular event is out of character for the City of Armstrong and the fact that it is being forced upon us, the residents, to just tolerate with the attitude of ‘let’s just wait and see’ is very unsettling.”

The association states that it doesn’t have  issues with the organizers but with the people who may attend.

“We are concerned about the increased stress and family divisions this event has the potential of putting upon parents who are not in favour of their kids attending this event,” says the letter.

“We are concerned about the image that will be cast upon you, the leaders of our community, who will be either directly or indirectly responsible for welcoming such potential destructive, violent behaviour into our community. Our young people need to be protected not exploited for the sake of gaining a few extra bucks to meet the budget of Armstrong-Spallumcheen Parks and Recreation.”

The association asked that the event be cancelled.

“Heavy metal has a bad image and the association reacted to that preconceived image,” said Coun. John Trainor.

“But we hope they realize it’s just an image and it was just a group of kids that enjoy a certain kind of music. Talking to the police, they had less problems with this than they do during Funtastic.”

If Armstrong Open Air takes place in 2012, Trainor hopes the ministerial association will attend so it can become more familiar with the event.