Uptown Live! aims for new summer date

Bart Slotman -
Bart Slotman
— image credit:

One reason Uptown Live! is on the move is better weather.

Whether it’s allowed to change dates though is up to city council.

The Uptown New Westminster street party event debuted in 2012, piggybacking on the annual Hyack International Parade in May. Organizers now hope to move it to Saturday, July 26 if council approves.

Uptown New Westminster Business Association (UNWBA) president Bart Slotman said the plan all along was to move the street festival to the summer.

The soap opera-like events of the last few months surrounding the Hyack Festival Association just sped up the switch.

And UNWBA needed to buy time to organize on its own.

“That just prompted us to move into a July date a couple of years earlier than anticipated,” said Slotman. “Right now we’re scrambling a bit, but right now everything’s looking good for that weekend.”

Slotman said declaring a new date wasn’t as simple as taking a Sharpie to a calendar white board. The association wanted to make sure it didn’t conflict with any other events in the city. Or, for that matter, too many in the region.

Uptown Live! needed to ensure it had enough stages, tents and fences.

“Those events take up a lot of the available equipment in the city,” said Slotman. “It’s harder than it appears. It’s not just a matter of looking at a calendar and saying that looks like a good day.”

Another advantage to moving it to the summer is not having to scramble to set up as the floats finish.

“If you don’t have to work around the parade you can set up the events the way they work best,” said Slotman.

Although Hyack is no longer involved, former Hyack executive director Douglas Smith is.

The UNWBA requested proposals from event managers across the region. They received three bids including one from Smith’s Alliance West company.

“He had by far the best proposal for us,” said Slotman, who went to great lengths to stress that Smith was hired in an open process.

“He knows the event, he knows the players, which doors to knock on. He had an advantage over other event organizers … We’re happy Douglas is back.”

On top of the hope for better weather, Slotman believes there’s an economic benefit for Uptown in having separate dates for the parade and street festival because they will attract crowds twice to the area.

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