This festival has a bit of everything — art, music, food, workshops, and more.
The Squamish Arts Festival runs from Aug. 8 to 20.
It is the annual Wind Festival, rebranded and expanded.
Things get started on Aug. 8 with workshops, such as a family-friendly pottery workshop at The 55 Activity Centre.
This festival basically takes over Squamish for two weeks as it is spread out over various venues.
On Aug. 12 and 19, there are musical performances at the Brackendale Art Gallery.
On Aug. 13, the newly rebranded Squamish Arts (SA) presents a variety of events at Junction Park (which are free) and at One and a Half Ave (which are ticketed).
“We’re closing down Cleveland Street from the farmer’s market to Main Street. What’s great is the market will be open when we are, and they’re co-ordinating their vendors to move back a bit, so it will be one long line all the way down Cleveland so you can start at the farmer’s market, then head over to our festival and bounce back and forth,” said Kat Kunze, executive director of SA.
With roaming artists, food trucks, a literary workshop and a free concert from Said The Whale and other performers, this festival is easily the most ambitious endeavour the organization has ever launched.
One of the unique new elements of the festival is its literary element, which was made possible by a partnership with Little Book Shop — a new bookstore on Second Avenue.
There will be a literary workshop on Aug. 10 hosted by Amber Cowie, who was recently nominated for a Whistler Book Award for her book Rapid Falls.
Oriented towards adults, it will be a 90-minute event suitable for high-school-aged aspiring writers.
Kunze is impressed with the curation of the shop, which has children and youth titles but also challenging works that have been “chosen to be conscious” and have “subjects more difficult to approach.”
“You’ll find books that are talking about things that are important to discuss,” she said.
The Aug. 20 event — a festival in and of itself running from 12 p.m to 7 p.m. — is in partnership with Oceanfront Squamish, which is developed by Matthews West.
“I am extremely excited about this festival. This is the first year we’ll return to full force in-person programming and not only do we have a main festival downtown on the 13th, in addition, we will have another festival at Oceanfront Squamish on Aug. 20,” Kunze said.
Construction will be shut down for the day so that folks can come in and see the progress of the development — it will be a celebration of the halfway completion of the Sp'akw'us Feather Park — while listening to music and getting food from local food trucks.
“And we’re very excited that we were able to land Said the Whale, who will be performing,” Kunze said.
Krunze said she is really happy to be in a place where there can be so much creativity on display in town.
“To watch how Squamish has transformed, and to have a festival of this size, has definitely made me happy to be contributing,” she said.
Meanwhile, work continues to find a dedicated arts space for the region. There are still some political hoops to jump through, including a future needs analysis, but they’re confident they can make their dream a reality.
“We’re looking at what local, national and international communities are doing and then we’ll suggest what will work best for us in Squamish. So going forward, that will be a huge focus for us.”
See the full schedule of events for the festival at squamishartsfestival.com.