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Canada's Evolve Festival in Jeopardy Again

The annual Nova Scotia festival loses government permit over lack of medical plan.
Photo courtesy of Evolve Festival

Nova Scotia's long-running Evolve Music and Awareness Festival is in jeopardy today, after the Municipality of the County of Antigonish announced they would be revoking the event's permit over ongoing conflicts around the lack of a medical plan.

The festival almost didn't happen last year, when their insurance company pulled coverage over the proposal to allow on-site drug testing. Organizers were able to proceed only after dropping the on-site testing and obtaining coverage from another company.


"We've had a number of contacts with Evolve since February, but to date a medical plan is still not forthcoming," Antigonish County municipal clerk-treasurer Glenn Horne told THUMP. "There's been ample time provided, and our feeling is that at this point in time a plan can't be developed that would adequately meet the needs of the festival, so that's why we've revoked the permit."

Evolve was issued a conditional permit in December 2015; one of the conditions it had to address was a committed medical plan, developed and overseen by a physician by February 1. According to the county, this part of the process has not yet been addressed satisfactorily by organizer Jonas Colter.

Now, it may be too late for Evolve to commit to any medical plan. The county says they are unwilling to reverse the decision at this point, regardless of any last minute solutions Evolve might propose. "It wouldn't change anything," says Horne.

Last year's lineup included performances from Keys N Krates, Grandtheft, Skratch Bastid, and more.

In a statement, the festival (originally scheduled for July 8-10) says they will be announcing a new location soon:

"Evolve was informed at the same time as the public today that the county of Antigonish would be officially revoking the permit for Evolve this year. Evolve has always been committed to safety, wellness, and harm reduction. Despite what you have read in the media, we have been diligently working on a thorough and robust medical plan to meet both the needs of the festival and the county. We very much appreciate the support of the Evolve community over the years. We look forward to continuing evolve at a new location. Details of this year's new location will be released in the coming weeks so please stay tuned for updates. Evolve 2016 will happen and we are excited about this new chapter and our evolution…"

Benjamin Boles is on Twitter.