Squamish's largest music festival brought the tunes and big dough to town.
The 2013 Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF) generated $18.7 million worth of economic activity for the province, stated organizers, citing a report based on the Conference Board of Canada's Festival and Events Assessment Model. Of that, $9.9 million was pumped into Squamish's economy.
Since the festival's launch almost four years ago, the report estimates the event has poured $16 million into local businesses' piggy banks.
The majority of the festival's crowd seemed to be made up of 20-somethings who visited Squamish with only cash, Coun. Bryan Raiser said. Approximately 89.5 per cent of festival-goers were from outside the Squamish region, with 73.2 per cent staying overnight during the event.
“I just say, 'Keep the money rolling,'” Raiser said.
The figures are higher than those anticipated by festival organizers, said Paul Runnals, brand.LIVE executive producer of SVMF. Next year the shindig is expected to almost double in size, from close to 19,000 festival-goers to 35,000 people. Although that doesn't necessarily transfer into double the economic impact, organizers are adding an additional day of music to the event, Runnals noted.
“That is probably going to be a more significant drive,” he said, adding he won't be surprised if the 2014 event generates $25 million for B.C.'s businesses.
Festival organizers want to work with Squamish stakeholders to help them capitalize on the extra foot traffic. In Simcoe, Ont., British band Mumford and Sons organized a series of smaller community events in between their festival appearances. The community, with a similar population to Squamish's, rallied around the band, creating a weekend of street parties, Runnals said.
This year, the Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association (BIA) held its second annual On the Street — a community street fair on Cleveland Avenue — to coincide with the festival. The association plans to build on the fair's momentum, Downtown Squamish BIA president Scott McQuade said.
The influx of festival-goers caught some businesses by surprise, said Elliot Moses, the Squamish Chamber of Commerce executive director. The chamber plans to sit down with companies who earned big bucks to share tips with other businesses, he said.
Benefits from the festival range from direct money in residents' pockets to placing Squamish in the spotlight, Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham stated in a press release. The star-studded event generated more than 178 million hits in media advertising and promotion with an estimated value of $1.2 million, noted the report.
“We look forward to working with our partners Brand.Live and Live Nation Canada through 2014 and beyond to continue to grow this event to maximize the positive benefits for all,” he said.