The Center of Gravity festival will be moved off the August long weekend in a bid to reduce problems
associated with the sports and music event.
Other proposed changes include stepping up security patrols in downtown neighbourhoods, conducting more inspections of bags carried by people entering the festival grounds, and changing the music to attract a more diverse audience.
"Planning for the 2014 festival will continue with a renewed focus on developing a well-rounded event with a long future in Kelowna," reads part of a report to city council from sport development manager Don Backmeyer.
Council will consider the report, which gives an overview of the festival's successes and challenges, at the regular Monday meeting. The report does not indicate when Centre of Gravity will be held in 2014.
Center of Gravity began as Volleyfest in 2007, attracting about 2,500 people for what was mostly a sports tournament organized around volleyball games.
The event has expanded to include more music performances, mountain-biking demonstrations, wakeboarding competitions, basketball games, and a large beer garden.
Attendance this summer was 8,000, with 77 per cent of festival-goers coming from outside Kelowna.
The festival has attracted criticism on several fronts, including the presence of large numbers of intoxicated young people on city streets, and widespread drug use.
After the festival concluded, Kelowna RCMP spokesman Const. Kris Clark said "there was a ton of drugs inside Centre of Gravity."
Organizers acknowledge more could have been done to check the bags people were bringing into the festival grounds at City Park. "For next year, we're looking at tightening up some of our access points to make sure contraband doesn't get into the venue," organizer Scott Emslie said in August.
During the August long-weekend, police responded to 65 per cent more calls than on a regular summer weekend, the city report states. As well, Kelowna General Hospital received 20 per cent more patients than usual for a summer weekend.
Despite the problems, city staff say Centre of Gravity is generally a well-run event that's popular with young people. In terms of hotel bookings and other spending, it is estimated to be worth $5 million to the city's economy.
"Centre of Gravity is unique to Kelowna," Backmeyer says. "It is three days of non-stop activities including the most current music and sport entertainment. The target demographic is between the ages of 16 and 25, a population not typically programmed toward."