Today is the last day of the Squamish Valley Music Festival, which opened its doors for its fourth annual summer music extravaganza on Thursday night.
I have covered this event, formerly the Live at Squamish Music Festival, every year and this was the busiest I have seen it during the first full day. About 17,000 festival-goers filled the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields to catch acts such as Said the Whale, Dragonette, Dan Mangan, The Boom Booms, Young the Giant Jordan Klassen, Jurassic 5, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Vampire Weekend — just to name a few.
Squamish Valley Music Festival Changes This Year
- There is a new wristband system for entrance and drink purchase. Each wristband has a chip that is read at the door to confirm your entry and instead of purchasing drink tickets in the beer gardens, you “top up” your wristband like a gift card at top up stations. Once you have an appropriate dollar amount loaded onto your wristband, you can walk over to the pouring station, have it scanned and debited automatically, and pick up your drink.
There were issues with the system on Thursday night at caused delays at the gate but these seemed resolved on Friday. However, the lines for the top up stations were far longer than the drink stations so it is worth it to full top up your wristband to avoid future top up trips in the future. That, and there is a service fee charged with every top up.
- The children have returned this year! In the first few years of the festival we noticed far more families but they seemed to have tapered off. Yesterday, there were many families, strollers, toddlers, and kids running around and dancing to the music — it was great to see.
- I hear the Glamping is the best option this year with access to showers and the Brennan Park Recreation Centre.
- The VIP beer garden’s only benefit this year isn’t just being closer to the stage. It’s also up on a riser so you get a definite improvement in your view of the Stawamus stage.
- The marketplace has grown, with more vendors and many more freebies and promotional items being handed out. With one pass between the rows my sister came out with a handful of granola bars, ice cream bars, iced tea, and other goodies.
- It seemed like music was just everywhere this year, not just in pockets around the Garibaldi or Stawamus Stages. The Market Square stage, Woodshed, and a smaller stage inside the main beer garden filled the air with music at all times.
Next year the site will be expanded as the festival, working with the District of Squamish, has been approved to expand to allow a capacity of over 30,000 each day.
Squamish Valley Music Festival Day 1 Highlights
You have to cheer for the homegrown Vancouver talent, Dan Mangan, who played for the festival crowd of thousands who got up from their comfortable blankets on the grass and danced their hearts out to his tunes.
When one song blended into another and the familiar chorus of Robots prompted fans to sing along, Mangan called up a few costumed members of the audience to stand on in front of the stage while he took a spin around the audience, crowd surfing over the masses.
Later in the evening, and incredibly happy, ground-shaking party ensued when the newly re-united Jurassic 5 hit the Garibali stage. This legendary alternative hop hip group, that parted ways in 2007, was a definite highlight, fully engaging the crowd who then migrated to the Stawamus stage to catch Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore, from Seattle, weaved stories between songs, captivating the crowd that was hungry to hear the blockbuster hits from his album The Heist, with Ryan Lewis. The music went well into the night, with the last acts of the day — such as Madeon — hitting their stages at 11:00pm after main stage headliners Vampire Weekend.
The schedule picks up again today at 2:40pm with Foy Vance followed by Yukon Blonde and The Matinée, and later this evening is Band of Horses, Childish Gambino, and Queens of the Stone Age.
John Biehler is my photographer this year as John Bollwitt and I have prior commitments this Saturday. He’s been snapping some amazing shots of the bands on stage and will be posting a photo essay by the end of the weekend. Stay tuned!