Ponderosa festival to go on after Rock Creek wildfires forced cancellation

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Ponderosa festival to go on after Rock Creek wildfires forced cancellation
WATCH ABOVE: Last year at this time, hundreds were set to camp out in Rock Creek and listen to some great bands. But just days before it was all set to begin, wildfires devastated the area, forcing organizers to cancel the event. This year however, the show will go on. Neetu Garcha reports. – Aug 16, 2016

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.

READ MORE: Ponderosa festival organizers say the show may not go on if all ticket holders receive refunds

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.

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“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.

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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.

WATCH BELOW: Fundraiser to help family devastated by Rock Creek wildfire

“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.

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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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