The last festival of the year is the climax of the story of summer. I have this post festival blues going on, just trying to grasp the last few weeks of summer. The Squamish Valley Music Festival was everything I hoped it would be and more. I truly believe that music is therapy. After an astonishing concert I feel elated for days. Sam Smith was amazing! Drake blew my mind! Alabama Shakes, that voice, if only I could sing as well as Brittany Howard can! I wish I could share some videos but they all have my tone death singing voice overtaking there marvelousness (not a real word, but felt fitting). I like to reflect after ever music festival on all my highlights, the things I enjoyed, the things that drove me crazy, and what I would do differently next time.
The Camping Situation
Squamish has to figure this out. The parking your car at Britannia and then taking the shuttle up is a completely flawed system. I know that one year there was a problem with traffic in the town but this is a nightmare. There should be more gates to inspect everything when heading into the campsite on the first night as well. I remember being impressed with the organization of the Squamish Valley Music Festival last year, but this year it was very lack-lustre.
The shuttles to the grounds from the campsite are terrible. There is definitely not enough buses and they do not come or go very frequently. I walked to and from the festival grounds pretty much the whole weekend. We had one driver who had no idea where he was going and had to get a camper to direct him. I have to give the Pemberton Music Festival props for actually have shuttles going in 10 – 20 minute intervals. It was a painless experience. The drivers were so nice, I applaud them for their organization and forward-thinking.
The Festival Grounds
I went to Pemberton the first year back in 2008 and it was a hot mess. The showers ran out of water, the whole arena was a dust bowl, it was a completely unglamorous experience. This year I was very impressed. The festival is well laid out. It is easy to get from one stage to another no problem. I really like the ball pit and the water-slide (although I did not partake in the water-slide) it is still a neat idea. I am ready to fully commit to Pemberton Music Festival next year…but I will stay in a hotel….
Squamish Music Festival was a little bit messy this year. The stages are very far apart and the path to get to the main stage (the Tantalus Stage) bottlenecks. If you want to see an act within thirty minutes of one another good luck, the chances of this happening are very slim. Line ups are a huge issue, I waited a whole hour for Thai food! I was hoping that they would be more prepared for the influx of people.
The festival grounds are nice and green, I was very surprised because Vancouver is having stage 3 drought restrictions. All the tents for giveaways have ridiculous line ups, so it is better not to waste time on them for the promo swag. There are a few employees/volunteers that have shirts, that say “Questions, ask us.” on the back. This is entirely false, anytime I had a question none of these people could answer them, or find someone with an answer to them. I asked one buy where one of the stages was and he looked at me with a blank stare. It took a good twenty minutes to find a map and navigate through the grounds the first day.
The lineups and the lack of support were a major sore spot this year. I hope next year they sort this out. If I have to choose I would prefer to go back to the Pemberton Music Festival over Squamish Valley Music Festival.
I am sad to say it is over but I did have an amazing time. Despite the struggles of camping and dealing with crowds, the awesome energy and the amazing new friends you meet make up for it. Now to detox! Seawheeze is just one week away. Hope the sunshine and suntans will continue until late September. Just trying to be optimistic!