Squamish residents came early and often to get their hands on discounted Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF) tickets on Thursday (Feb. 6).
Locals braved the chilly morning and started camping out at the Squamish Adventure Centre (SAC) at 5 a.m. and the tills were ringing for nearly 12 hours. Just over 1,000 tickets were sold and all of the Galileo Coffee’s stock was sold out.
Ethan Burns was the first Squamish resident to set up camp outside the SAC and got there bright and early.
“I arrived just after 5 a.m.,” he told The Chief. “I was originally planning for 6 or 7 but I heard there were going to be a lot of people so I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. and I turned out to be first — and boy, was it cold out.”
Burns said it was generally a happy bunch waiting until tickets were available for sale, with coffee runs being shared as the line grew longer and longer. The 2013 HSSS grad said he’s looking forward to Eminem, Foster The People and Arctic Monkeys among many others.
“The whole festival is a great experience even if you're not there solely for the music,” he said. “It’s a great lineup this year.”
Burns bought one of the approximately 1,000 discounted tickets sold on the day but according to Brand Live project manager Jackie Sakaguchi, that wasn’t exactly the original plan. She said only 500 tickets were going to made available at the $250 price, but event organizers extended the deal after the incredible response from locals.
“It was a game-time decision this morning,” she said of the extension. “If people were here and took the time to come here, we wanted to make sure that they can get their tickets.”
Anyone who made it into the SAC by 4:30 p.m. could buy tickets but it was a long wait. There were only two cashiers on site and some people waited in line for four or more hours to receive $50 off the regular price of the festival. Despite the long lines, Sakaguchi said it was a positive vibe all day long.
“The residents I’ve spoken to have said it’s pretty much been like catching up with neighbours,” she said. “It’s kind of a community gathering here and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Something like this brings people together and that’s really another aspect of what the festival can bring to Squamish.”
Deanna Wampler, manager of operations at the SAC, said it was a busy but fun day.
“Everybody in the lineup is in great spirits and super happy,” she said. “It’s kind of like the early ’90s when you had to go outside and camp for tickets. This is really the first year we’ve seen this kind of massive response for tickets at the SAC and there’s been far less criticism. I think everyone is really excited.”
Wampler said people were lined up around the building when she arrived. Laura-Lee Lofgren, who manages the Squamish Visitor’s Centre, said the phone has been ringing off the hook.
“We’ve had people calling to ask when Eminem is playing,” she said, laughing. “The concert is evolving, for sure. Last year we had tickets available in the store and it was busy but not to this degree.”
Lofgren said the parking lot was three-quarters full when she arrived at 8:30 a.m. and the lineup to get into the SAC was wrapped around the outside of the building. She said that it was a good call by event organizers to offer more discounted tickets for locals.
“We were told originally that there was a bundle of 500 discounted tickets available and after those were sold they would have regular priced tickets available,” she said. “But around 11 a.m. they changed it and made the discounted tickets available all day.”
Sakaguchi said details still need to be ironed out on locals only tickets for next year but that additional cashiers would make things run more efficiently. Wampler and Lofgren said they would both welcome SVMF tickets to the SAC.
Those who missed out on the locals-only sale can still pick up tickets to the festival at www.squamishfestival.com. The festival goes down from Aug. 8 to 10 at Centennial Field, Loggers Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields.