Local public school trustees have granted an exemption to the Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF) to the district's policy of not allowing alcohol on school grounds.
The exemption, granted during a special meeting of the Sea to Sky School District of the board on Wednesday (Feb. 26), applies to festival-goers camping on the Squamish Elementary School field during the Aug. 8 to 10 festival.
The field is expected to accommodate around 1,000 campsites, or up to 4,000 festival-goers. With the exemption, each camper will be allowed to bring no more than one 12-can case of beer, or one box of wine, to his or her site during check-in. Alcohol will not be sold at the campground, SVMF executive producer Paul Runnals told the board on Feb. 12.
Runnals told The Chief after the Feb. 12 meeting that if the exemption was not granted, camping at SES was “probably not going to be viable.”
In exchange for the exemption being granted, SVMF organizers have pledged to donate $10,000 to the district, to be used for whatever the board deems necessary.
At Wednesday's meeting, Area D trustee Laura Godfrey said she saw no reason to block the request.
“It would be an entirely different conversation if the festival was happening in October or March, but in this case, our schools are not in session, and these are also community fields,” Godfrey said. “I think we have an obligation to help this event be successful.”
Also on Feb. 12, the board denied an SVMF request that it be allowed to use the Howe Sound Secondary School football field for camping during the festival. Trustees argued that if it rained just before or during the festival, it could damage the field, rendering it unplayable for the start of this fall’s football season.
Festival organizers now plan to have camping for about 18,000 of the projected 35,000 people expected to attend the three-day event.