After a bumpy start, this year's Squamish Valley Music Festival was the biggest and best to date, according to the festival's executive producer.
More than 17,000 people poured into Squamish to listen to 54 performers. Festival-goers were well behaved and, despite garbage left behind, the Loggers Sports Grounds and Squamish soccer fields are in good shape, Paul Runnals said.
Festival organizers ran into technical issues on Day 1 of the three-day event. Equipment used to scan campers' tickets was down for an hour. Instead of campers trickling in throughout the day, approximately 80 per cent arrived at the same time. Lengthy lineups — both for camping and on Highway 99 at the south end of town — ensued.
With promoters Live Nation and brand.Live aiming to nearly double next year's festival ticket count, organizers will review last weekend's processes, Runnals said.
“The camping process will be overhauled,” he said.
The 2014 festival comes with a shuffle. The main stage will replace the tents on the Brennan Park soccer fields. Organizers are looking for a different location to accommodate campers and are in contact with private property owners. Parking may also be shifted away from the parcel on Queens Way that was used during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
“It is all going to get broken up” and the changes will ease traffic, Runnals said.
Most events that attract big crowds impact local bandwidth, as people upload photos and Tweet via their cellphones. Squamish Valley Music Festival was no exception Runnals said.
“We did bring in a cellular repeater,” he noted. Nonetheless, uploads ground to a snail's pace.
Organizers hired 225 security staff per day. Police were pleasantly surprised by the crowd's behaviour, Squamish RCMP Sgt. Wayne Pride said. Over the course of the event, 10 festival-goers found their way to the drunk tank. Police patrolled the campsite and seized smuggled liquor, he said.
The festival introduced a lot of people to Squamish, Mayor Rob Kirkham said. He hopes to see spinoffs as they return to the community to enjoy its amenities. The district has initiated a report on the festival's effects on the local economy and community.
“It was a huge success,” Kirkham said. “From the feedback I got [businesses] had record sales every day of the festival.”