A rural township rests between Barrie and Orillia just off of Highway 11 named Oro-Medonte. Most days of the year, its a very quiet place. A population of just over 20,000 reside mostly amongst farmland and small concession roads.
However, 7+ days a year are a completely different story.
The township’s two annual music festivals, Boots And Hearts and Wayhome turns the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds into a sea of humanity, filled with campsites and the sounds of such international artists like Kendrick Lamar, Luke Bryan, The Arkells, and Blake Shelton just to name a few.
Concert-goers into the hundreds of thousands collectively enjoy both festivals each year. Some residents of Oro-Medonte do not.
SaveOro is a group of Oro-Medonte residents that have banded together against such concerts ever since the expansion of The Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in 2015, morphing what would normally host small farmers markets into a yearly music gathering ground for over 100,000.
The comments on their website voice their frustrations rather clearly:
“The reality is, I won’t be able to get to work or get home and there will be no economic benefit to any of us.” -Rick
“This is a corporate takeover of Oro-Medonte,” –Resident
“We don’t want it. Oro is a quiet community. You are devaluing our homes and crowding our streets. And this is a permanent thing, you know it.”- Resident
SaveOro makes it very clear that they aren’t going to sit around and wait for problems to just disappear either, as their website indicates in previous press releases:
“As Boots and Hearts proceeds, we need you to again record any illegal activity including parking on prime agricultural land not zoned for commercial uses, traffic, loud concert noise, trespass, litter, rowdy behaviour, etc.”
“We are proceeding with a private prosecution against Republic Live for the events last summer, which were held illegally, and which the Township failed to stop. We are going to court in June despite the Township’s efforts to squash our prosecution.”
SaveOro has recommended charges for bylaw violations related to both festivals this past year and year’s previous. They cite that the land being used for these festivals is zoned for agriculture, not for camping or events of such size, as well as violations to local noise ordinances. SaveOro’s recommendation has been heard by the township, who will consider whether or not to charge Burl’s Creek.
Harry Hughes, Mayor of Oro Medonte, says the decision will come before the end of this month.