Arts & Entertainment

Fandango Farms: simple, safe and successful

 | December 8, 2010

One of the recurring nightmares music event planners face is the safety of their guests. But, as Fandango Farms proves, it is possible to have 800 people partying all night long without serious problems.

Fandango Farms, a 110-acre farm located just outside of Vernon, has been holding music events and potlucks for years. In 2009 they hosted five commercial events, and so far have managed to throw incident-free parties.

Fandango Farms received a lot of press attention prior to their Oct. 30 Metamortal Halloween event, including RCMP warnings about lack of security, first aid and transportation. Everything was directed mainly towards minors, and the warnings were attributed to an unfortunate incident involving a female rave attendee who was sexually assaulted at a rave in Pitt Meadows.
While this helped direct minors away from the 19 plus event, it left a sour note with Fandango fans who felt the events were incomparable to what happened in Pitt Meadows.

The fact is there were 800 people that attended Metamortal, and nothing bad happened. Compare this to many Halloween 19 plus events that occur, and it causes one to look deeper into the makings of this successful, safe event.

Ed Walters, who owns Fandango Farms with his wife LeRae, believes it’s all about honesty and positivity.

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“My wife and I have always come from the position that love, non-judgment and respect for freewill is the key to a harmonious society,” he says.

While it may sound like a ‘60s flashback, this concept really works for Fandango Farms. Could other events learn from this? To have 800 people partying all night without incident is no small feat. It not only builds reputation, but also saves money, stress and even lives. Is it the word “rave” that makes people skeptical?

Raves hold a reputation for hedonism and the use of recreational drugs and there’s no doubting that, like events of all kinds, there have been unfortunate incidents. Fandango Farms requires attendees sign up for a membership that honestly states the presence of these things—why shouldn’t tickets to the bar say the same?

So what is it about events like Metamortal that keep people so civil? People of all ages over 19 attend. At 60 years old, Walters says the generation gap is no issue.

David Klein, a volunteer with Fandango Farms events, recalls a memorable event from the Metamortal party that is key to their success.

“There were four guys sitting in the living room, being quite negative and not really enjoying the party . . . one of our co-ordinators along with security came over to get their names and ended up talking to them, figuring out what their problem was and talking them through it,” says Klein. “When you have 600-800 people at a party and you can take the time to make sure four individuals are making the most of their night—that is what makes Fandango Farms great.”

We all know the benefits of proactive measures. Having people dedicated to ensuring positivity at Fandango Farms seems like a great way to curb possible problems, instead of having security or RCMP try and fix a problem that’s already affected someone.
Regardless of what the “magic” of Fandango Farms is, there is no doubting that if you can throw a party of this size and have no serious issues you’re doing things right. If all music events were run similarly—could black eyes and wounded egos be avoided?

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