A biker who grew up in High River is getting music back on the stage in a five-day festival in Red Deer.
Ted Brooks, who now lives in Edmonton, is organizing the Loco Amigos Mayhem Drive-in Music Festival in Westerner Park July 31 to Aug. 4 featuring 25 bands playing on a grand stand stage with four large movie screens in an attempt to revive both live concerts and live audiences.
The lineup includes such musicians as Clayton Bellamy and Dirt Road Angels.
“It’s the biggest outdoor live music event in Alberta this year and I’m bringing it to Red Deer,” said Brooks. “Everyone is complaining about the lack of music and being stuck inside. Alberta is suffering.”
With the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Alberta rising, Brooks said it might be the last large outdoor concert for a while.
“This may be one of the biggest and last venues that is legal and legit for a long time,” he said. “We are in for some rough patching coming forward.”
Getting such a large concert off the ground wasn’t an easy feat, so Brooks commissioned the help of friend Julie Hirsche, who works with a lot of non-profit charities and is a casino advisor through Alberta Gaming and Liquor.
The Okotoks resident said the first time Brooks asked for her help she declined because of her busy schedule, but the second time he asked she couldn’t refuse and found she had her work cut out for her.
“The toughest part was dealing with everything because of COVID,” she said. “Nobody can meet with you so everything is done over the phone. Offices are down to two days a week.
“I went through uncharted territory with Alberta Health and Safety. It was all new to me.”
Hirsche said it was worth the work.
“We have made this into what Ted envisioned, and bigger,” she said.
The festival received approval for 107 VIP parking stalls, 385 parking stalls and seating for up to 200 at the outdoor amphitheatre.
“It’s pretty cool to have something this big happen in such a troubled time right now,” she said. “It’s a push to sell tickets right now because of the last minute okay with Alberta Health and Safety.”
Brooks said he’s concerned that ticket sales are slow right now, but he’s determined to see his vision come to fruition.
The idea of the festival arose from Brook’s desire to spread positive messages and spirituality to others after he lost his brother, Rob Brooks, to suicide in 2018 and his son to suicide two months later.
Brook’s journey of healing began with the Loco Amigos Roadshow, where he spent six months on the road last year.
Brooks refurbished a small school bus, towed a trailer with two Harley Davidson motorcycles and lived out of the bus while travelling to music festivals and other events across western Canada.
“I spent that time trying to heal people spiritually and raise money for things like cancer and other causes,” he said. “There was one guy who had a hole in his heart. That just led to me going to more rallies and festivals.”
During his travels, Brooks pitched a 28-foot-tall teepee and invited people to paint it to help raise even more money. He posted his travels online to share his stories and experience with others.
Brooks said he hopes the Loco Amigos Mayhem Drive-in Music Festival brings positivity to Albertans during such a difficult time.
“Now with COVID, things are tough for people,” he said. “The last two months I lost people to an overdose and suicide. People are in bad shape right now.”
To learn more about the Loco Amigos Mayhem Drive-in Music Festival visit https://locoamigosinc.com/
Brooks and Hirsche are also working on the logistics to host the festival in Lethbridge on Labour Day weekend and in Edmonton in late summer or early fall.