Will the real slim shady please stand up.
Drum roll please. And the headliner at the Squamish Valley Music Festival is…….you guessed it: the real slim shady — Eminem.
On Wednesday (Jan. 29) Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham was among the crowd at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom as international event organizers Live Nation and brand.LIVE announced the lineup for the festival on Aug. 8 to 10.
Taking to the main stage is one of the world's best-selling music artists, rapper Eminem, and Arcade Fire, the Grammy award-winning Montreal indie rock band. Not to be outdone, Hawaii native singer-songwriter Bruno Mars will also be in front of the crowd. Mars is scheduled to flash across millions of people's TV screens this Sunday (Feb. 2), as he struts his stuff during the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII.
“This event represents a turning point not only for B.C.'s live music industry, but also for Canada's event industry as a whole,” Live Nation president Paul Haagenson said in a statement.
So far, Squamish is Eminem's only festival date for 2014, he said, noting it will be the rapper's first western Canadian show in more than a decade. Organizers anticipate the music lineup, which also includes the Sam Roberts Band, The Roots, Thievery Corporation and Serena Ryder, will draw fans from across Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Last year, rapper Macklemore was among 54 performers who entertained 19,000 concert-goers. That year the Seattle native's single “Thrift Shop” topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. This year, festival producers hope big names like the Tokyo Police Club will sell out the festival's 35,000 tickets.
The jump has caused a nervous stir in Squamish. Last summer's event came with hiccups, prompting some 250 residents to send comments to city hall. Of those, 160 related to garbage on festival grounds and 90 pertained to traffic delays.
The festival's executive producer, Paul Runnals, told officials a lot of time and effort has gone into ensuring the problems will be ironed out. The company hired the expert who oversaw the transportation program for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
“We are confident that our overall event plans will ensure this event runs smoothly in key areas of transportation, onsite accommodation, security and impact to the community,” Runnals said.
Runnals's assurances didn't stop Squamoleans from packing council chambers earlier this month. Council passed a motion to allow festival camping in the Squamish Business Park. Some neighbours are worried about noise, vandalism and the falling of the trees to make way for an event that lasts three days.
The festival is good news for some business owners, like Carole Bird. The event gets her restaurant through the slower months, the owner of Two Birds Eatery said during the camping debate. A report based on the Conference Board of Canada's Festival and Events Assessment Model estimated the festival poured $9.9 million into the local economy and generated 178 million hits in media and advertising.