MoM Festival moving from the mountain down to the meadow

Music on the Mountain Festival, is getting a new venue at the 80 acre rodeo grounds just outside of Fort St. James

Music on the Mountain (MoM) might be moving to lower elevations but its raising the bar for the three-day event that happens in August. Lionel Conant

Music on the Mountain (MoM) might be moving to lower elevations but its raising the bar for the three-day event that happens in August. Lionel Conant

MoM, the music festival commonly known as Music on the Mountain, is getting a new venue and likely a new moniker for its acronymic name once the music festival moves off the mountain.

The 80 acre rodeo grounds are slated to be the new home to the three day festival that takes place in August.

Lionel Conant, president of the MoM Festival, said the grounds site will offer an opportunity for the festival to grow and be a space where festival goers of all ages will have more venues available due to the increased space.

The grounds, now owned and used by the Fort St. James Snowmobile Club, haven’t been used for its original purpose as a rodeo grounds in more than five years said Conant. Right now the space is being used as a makeshift camp for seasonal tree planting crews that come to the Fort every spring.

Conant said having the space will allow MoM to have a permanent stage and a beer garden for the first time in the festival’s history.

“MoM’s never had a beer garden before,” he said. “We’re hoping the new liquor laws should allow us to do that in here … this way we can contain it and keep people from coming and going with booze.”

There are a number of outbuildings that can be used for workshops and vendors around the site, Conant said the entire site will be used interactively for a variety of activities and create a family friendly place for this year’s festival.

“There’s all this parking for RV’s, for our local people that like to come early and lots of room for tenting in those outbuildings,: he said. “Another advantage out here is there are outhouses.”

With the bigger venue, Conant said there will be a push on to recruit more volunteers, he added the open site area and the proximity to town will make it easier for volunteers to access and help out on a more flexible schedule.

“We’re going to need more (volunteers) for sure,” he said. “We count on our volunteers every year and we will count on them even more this year.”

He said though the years at the ski hill have been great and the use of the site at Murray Ridge has been a good run the past five years, the closeness to town will make shuttles a lot more efficient and will allow better access for people who don’t have a vehicle. “It’s closer to town to get to,” he said. “We can run a shuttle a lot easier and it’s within the taxi’s range.”

With more than 600 festival goers, artists and crew last year Conant said the festival had almost outgrown the Murray Ridge site, he added the festival hopes to grow that number to 1,000 attendees this year which was a large part of changing the venue to the old rodeo grounds site.

“It’s time to make this move.”