Editorial: CannaFest looking like party of the year

CannaFest will feature popular ’80s rockers such as Headpins, Prism, Streetheart and Lou Gramm of Foreigner.

After some haggling, CannaFest music festival is finally confirmed for Grand Forks. Our little town has plenty to offer, but when it comes to music concerts and festivals, people generally have to travel to Kelowna, Vancouver or Spokane to see big acts.

CannaFest will feature popular ’80s rockers such as Headpins, Prism, Streetheart and Lou Gramm of Foreigner. Foreigner had some huge hits in the late ’80s and early ’90s such as Juke Box Hero, I Want to Know What Love Is and Urgent. In all, Foreigner sold more than 80 million records world-wide.

Meanwhile, Prism had Spaceship Superstar, Streetheart hit it big with Here Comes the Night, and Headpins were well known for Don’t it Make You Feel.

Bringing all these acts and more together for a two-day festival in Grand Forks is quite an accomplishment.

Of course, the raison d’etre of the festival is to “bring awareness to the healing properties of medical marijuana”; however, one of the stipulations of being able to have the concert at James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks is that they are NOT allowed to sell any cannabis.

It’s hard not to forget the difficulties last summer of Boonstock in Penticton. Although much bigger in scope, Boonstock ended up struggling financially as major sponsors pulled out after they were unable to secure a liquor licence. There was also difficulty with adequate security and policing. A Boonstock attendee sadly died of a drug overdose and dozens were treated in hospital for suspected drug overdoses.

These types of concerns weren’t lost on Grand Forks City Council. It was careful in its considerations of the request for a festival from CannaFest creator Chuck Varabioff; however, Varabioff has assured council and city staff that there will be sufficient security on hand as well as emergency personnel to provide a safe atmosphere.

There will be one security guard for every 10 attendees, Varabioff promises, and he will need to keep that promise.

It definitely looks like CannaFest will be the party of the year. And it will certainly bring in concert-goers from out of town, which will bring in money from out of town.

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