Ponderosa festival to go on after Rock Creek wildfires forced cancellation
A music festival in Rock Creek is gearing up to welcome fans this coming weekend; one year after wildfires devastated the community and forced organizers to cancel the show.
The Ponderosa Arts and Music Festival would have been in its third year, but organizers canceled the show due to the wildfires after many tickets had already sold.
Event organizers Kia Zahrabi and Kris Hargrave tried to put the show on hold but eventually canceled it.
“We were running around, we were trying to find alternate locations for the festival and there was smoke everywhere,” Hargrave said.
Ticket holders were offered a refund and organizers thought the festival may not ever happen again.
But in an attempt to save money, and the show, there was a public plea for people not to claim the ticket reimbursement, and it worked.
“People were great. We got lots of positive feedback and a lot of people were really generous and without that I don’t know if we would be back today,” Hargrave said.
Zahrabi, said the financial hit they took was minuscule compared to what some Rock Creek resident lost; 30 homes were destroyed.
That’s why last fall, the music festival organizers shifted their focus to another kind of show: a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity.
“After the fire, we obviously were affected but it made us realize there were 30 homes that were lost. There are families that lost everything that they had so it puts a lot of things in perspective,” Zahrabi said.
At the benefit concert in Vancouver held last November, $5,000 was raised for a Westbridge family who lost their home.
“The family’s home is now complete and they’re doing a ceremony coming up to celebrate the completion of the construction… it’s kind of nice, it’s full circle,” Zahrabi said.
Now with a few days left before the festival kicks off on Friday, there’s a push for more ticket sales and community support.
“[The] regular ticket price for a day pass is between $50 and $80… we just want to make it by donation for locals… proceeds will go back to fire needs fund and the local community will decide where those funds go,” Zahrabi said.
Click here to learn more about the festival.
~ With files from Nadia Stewart
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