In every story, thereís the good, the bad and the ugly. Squamish Valley Music Festival is no different.
And while itís the ugly that usually attracts the trail of eyes, the good slips past like a forgotten shot. Thatís got to change. After four years of calling Squamish home, brand.LIVEís musical extravaganza is hitting a critical point in its growth next year. Organizers anticipate the festival will almost double in size, from 19,000 to 35,000 festival-goers. And as if that isnít enough pressure, a new cowboy is moving into town.
Up Highway 99, Pemberton is re-igniting its own music festival. Originally formed by the team thatís promoting Squamishís shindig, in 2008 the Pemberton Festival drew 40,000 people to the Spud Valley.
American-based Huka Entertainment is now saddling the beast. The company is well-known for its Hangout Music Festival, placed on the sandy gulf shores of Alabama. And Huka isnít just shooting from the hip; these festival organizers have some big names in their stable ó from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Kings of Leon.
If Squamish wants its festival to come out of this battle unscathed, the community needs to pull in behind it. All the big players need to come to the table ó Squamish Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association (BIA), Squamish Art Council, Squamish Farmersí Market ó and think of ways to iron out and improve the event. Letís look outside the box and continue to draw people downtown by growing events like the BIAís On the Street.
Over its lifespan the SVMF has attracted $16 million worth of economic activity to Squamish ó no small potatoes. As officials work to attract tech-based industries and tourism to town, local businesses have been nibbling from the festivalís trough. And while city hall dedicated $65,000 toward branding our community, the music festival spread Squamishís name out to 178 million media outlets ó worth an estimated $1.2 million.
Squamish has a lot to offer and the festival is a chance to showcase our community. Letís build the festival into the best in the west.