WATCH: After more than 40 years entertaining crowds outside the B.C. Legislature, the Greater Victoria Festival Society has been forced to cancel its Saturday marching band performances because legislature administrators gave the permit to the March Against Monsanto
It’s a popular sight at the Victoria day long weekend festivities each year in the Inner Harbour.
Marching bands from across Canada and the United States perform on the front lawn of the B.C. Legislature in the days leading up to the main event, Monday’s Victoria Day Parade.
But this year, The Greater Victoria Festival Society has been forced to cancel the five performances set for Saturday.
“One of our bands, Sultan, has played for 37 years on the steps of the Parliament at 3:00p.m. Saturday afternoon and that won’t be happening this year,” said Society General Manager Kelly Kurta.
The problem is a conflicting event.
Due to an administrative mix-up legislature administrators double-booked Saturday — giving a permit to the March Against Monsanto.
“I think it’s going to be disappointing for a lot of people I know it’s going to be disappointing for us,” said Kurta.
The Festival Society said it’s been able to move most of the Saturday bands to Sunday, except for one coming from Vancouver.
“They’re only coming over on Saturday, they’ve asked to perform at 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. on the Legislature, they’ve booked their hotels, their ferries, their buses, if we can’t accommodate them they’re going to be very upset,” said Kurta.
Laura Weileby organizes the March Against Monsanto each year.
She said she booked the Legislature lawn last November and can’t change her plans to accommodate the festival now.
“We’re a low budget non-profit organization, we’ve already spent the majority of our money on advertising for the event itself, we advertise all over the Island as a matter of fact,” said Weileby.
Weileby said her event takes significant set-up and take-down time, with guest speakers, musical performances, and food.
But she is offering to clear out earlier than planned.
“I did take the time down from 7:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. if that will make any difference,” said Weileby.
The Legislature is offering the Festival Society a different location for its band performances Saturday but Kurta said that just won’t work.
“They come here to perform and with a protest and a march and stuff like that sometimes it can be just a bit upsetting if they’re overpowering the bands and stuff like that,” said Kurta.
So there may be no marching band performances in the Inner Harbour Saturday but they will go ahead as planned Sunday and the parade on Monday is not affected.