Rob Oakie and his company are fully aware that Charlottetown has a new events ground for concerts, but it isn't good for a folk festival, he said.
Concerts present one act at a time but a folk festival has multiple stages, each with different performers all at the same time, said Oakie during a public meeting Thursday in Charlottetown.
His company, Malpeque Folk Festival Inc, wants to stage a high-calibre family-oriented folk festival in Victoria Park in August 2014.
You need "sound separation" plus some physical separation of the small stages using trees and the lay of the land, he told the meeting.
Oakie is partnering with Mitch Podolak who is the Canadian dean of folk festivals, having run the Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver and the Stan Rogers festivals.
Together they toured the Island, including the new Charlottetown Event Grounds but Victoria Park came out the winner. All folk festivals in Canada are located in spectacular locations, most on public lands, and some on environmentally sensitive lands, without problems said Oakie.
"The park is an ideal setting for a folk festival," he told Charlottetown City Council which hosted the public meeting. "You need more than just one, big, open field."
All the stages in the Victoria Park proposal will face towards the water, unlike stages at the park in the past. Sound leakage into residential areas would be small, said Oakie.
The main stage will not be in the usual location, but rather in the field next to the dairy bar, with its back to the centre access road and facing towards the West River.
Fencing will surround the site, extending out to the median of the perimeter roadway, so the bike lane will be closed for the weekend, but the traffic lane will remain open.
Parking will be off site with shuttle service or walk-on admission.
Memorial Field, City Diamond, the skateboard park, the playground and the tennis courts will remain open for public access and will not be part of the festival grounds, said Oakie.
Answering a question from Coun. Mitchell Tweel, Oakie said there will be an area where alcohol is served but they are looking at special restrictions to eliminate public intoxication.
Just over 30 people attended the meeting, with eight coming to the microphone to ask questions or make a statement.
It was too much for John Morris who wanted the new event ground altered to accommodate the new festival. Peter Rukavina did not like the idea of closing off public space in any way. Stella Newman asked about prices and was told tickets would run between $35 to $55 per day and maybe around $100 for the weekend.
She said it would "open the door" to other, more disruptive events in the future.
Serge Bernard of the P.E.I. Bluegrass festival said this kind of festival participant looks after each other and the land, and he supports the idea totally.
Others also spoke in total support.
Mayor Clifford Lee said that the parks and recreation committee will take this public opinion into consideration as it makes a recommendation to council.
"I understand the organization needs to know relatively soon if this is a go or it's not so they can begin their planning in earnest," said Lee.