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Annual music festival showcases Squamish talent

Event will be a celebration of Sea to Sky musicians.

Squamish's music festival geared specifically to show off local Sea to Sky talent is back.

The Local Festival will showcase various musical acts on Sept. 3.

Cat Madden, the festival's organizer, said it's a multi-band festival concert with an emphasis on Squamish talent.

Last year, Madden and a few other musicians put together an event called Squamish Soiree.

"This year, we decided to rebrand as The Local Fest, because we believe this goes with our ethos a little better," said Madden. "But yeah, so essentially, it really came from a frustration of not having anywhere to play and not having more big events in town, more big festivals."

On top of COVID lockdowns shutting down many live events, there is also the ongoing issue of not having a dedicated arts space throughout the year.

O'Siyam Pavilion helps meet the demand during the summer, but when the bad weather arrives, it's tough finding a good spot for live music.

"What this talent is desperately, desperately crying out for is a big multi-purpose performance centre or something to do with that at bigger stages, where we can not only promote our local acts, but pull in big acts," said Madden.

"We have the potential here to be a touring destination for the world's biggest acts. Your backdrop is the [Stawamus] Chief. It would be an incredible space, and it would bring so much culture and art to this town."

However, like many things in life, money is a factor in making things happen.

She said one of the goals of the festival is to draw attention, and, hopefully, money will follow.

"If we can draw attraction that this is the kind of town where cool events like this happen, investment will come," Madden said.

In the long run, she said that the festival hopes to become a breeding ground for local artists to grow and take themselves to the next level.

The lineup features 11 acts, including new talents.

This includes artists like Sarah Hutch, who Madden said is making her debut performance on a stage.

"She has this massive voice and just captivates people incredibly," Madden said.

Another relative newcomer, Samurai Smokes is making waves on the Twitch streaming platform, despite having only picked up a guitar three years ago.

Seasoned veteran Will Ross will be there as well.

"We want to show everyone his original side too, because he is phenomenal," said Madden "And he just keeps getting better and better."

The three headlining acts are Uncle Strut, Phat Taxi and Rain City.

Uncle Strut is a four-piece band that plays surf-indie rock laced with irreverent humour.

Phat Taxi play funky soul music that will be sure to get people dancing.

Finally, Rain City will be ready to conquer after coming off of a tour with a dark funk-jazz rock vibe.

"You just can't look away, basically," said Madden.

"When you've played on tour, and you're playing every day, you get tight. And so we're really lucky to have them at the end of the tour when they're going to be just incredible."

In addition to music, there will be other attractions as well. Sea2Sky Pinball will be setting up arcade games, Squamish Circus will be there, as well as a few microbreweries to provide refreshments.

The 19+ event will be held from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Junction Park and O'Siyam Pavilion. Tickets can be found at

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