Organizers for this weekend's Bass Coast Project got good news this week when the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) announced it would issue an event permit despite concerns from neighbours of the venue site.
"I'm really excited," said organizer Andrea Graham. "We've been building for the past week and a half on site creating art structures and stages and campsites and fences, so it's all coming together and we can see it."
The venue spans over 250 acres with gravel laneways connecting the stages and riverside beaches at mile 16.5 of Squamish Valley Road. It's expected to attract 1,500 people Friday to Sunday (July 24 to July 26).
Concerns arose on behalf of neighbours during last month's SLRD meeting when director John Turner brought up letters from residents written after other weekend-long events who questioned the permitting process for music festivals, the noise, traffic, litter and trespassing.
"Most residents of this valley move here for the peace and quiet. I urge you to press for more zoning so that these activities can be controlled," a resident wrote to Turner.
Graham - a Squamish resident - said she and her partner organizers have been addressing concerns and going through the permitting process with RCMP, Vancouver Coastal Health, first aid, Forestry and the Agricultural Land Commission since January.
"The neighbours are a difficult group to actually get in touch with because there isn't one central method of communication," said Graham. "But we had three meetings and open houses, people who brought concerns to the SLRD, we would then call them. We tried to be proactive."
Bass Coast, which is intended to be an annual event, consists of 48 hours of arts with everything from music video production, fashion design, yoga, capoeira, hula hooping to organic gardening.
The methods adopted to mitigate the pressing concerns of noise and traffic, said Graham, included angling speakers downriver and towards the forest, using trees as buffers, and adopting a gradual rolling off of sound levels into the evening. Flaggers have also been hired to help minimize traffic back-ups. Organizers are also discouraging festival-goers from coming and going by imposing a reentry fee, said Graham.
"We've got vending and food and water and everything there, so there's really no need to leave."
It appears the efforts have resolved all concerns at the SLRD level.
"I am pleased that protocols have been followed and everything has been done in a proper manner," stated SLRD chair Russ Oakley in a news release. "I wish them a successful event."
For more info on Bass Coast Project, visit www.basscoastproject.com.