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Believe Festival forges ahead, permits and passes in hand

The July festival is a step closer to inaugural event

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Believe Festival organizers jumped a major hurdle in making their eclectic July festival a reality recently when they secured the necessary permits to hold the event at Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley.

Everything from policing to water and vendor hygiene had to be sorted out before they could release hard copies of passes, which are set to be shipped to outlets in Whistler and Vancouver next week.

"The feedback is really good and we've done well on presales on our own website," says founder Adrian Moran. "We're pretty much (happy with the presale). It's been a little bit difficult for us because we have an established name in the industry where we come from, but it's the first year here. There are a few factors. Weather is an obvious one, but there's the fact that a lot of festivals have attempted to get going and they don't make it. There were problems with the (2008) Pemberton (Music) Festival and others. I think a lot of people are sitting back and watching to see what will happen."

While they're still planning to reveal between 20 and 30 more acts performing at the five-day event — running from July 11 to 15 — a large portion of the lineup has been announced. The weekend will feature hip hop and reggae acts like headliner Julian Marley & The Uprising and west coast hip hop act The Luminaries, while the other three days will be packed with First Nations artists, a Mexican mariachi band, Japanese and African drummers and a whole array of electronic dance music.

They've also announced a roster of live art demonstrations, stilt walkers, fire jugglers and yoga throughout the festival. "One of the things we want to showcase is the progressive dance scene happening all over Europe lead by (record label) IONO Music," Moran says. "Everyone is into the dub and the glitch scene, but there really is a huge market throughout Europe with the progressive dance scene. Everyone is going to go, 'We should've opened our eyes.'"

Basically, he adds, there will be something for everyone, save for rock and pop fans. "We have the RMOW (Resort Municipality of Whistler) and other major organizations behind us," he says. "There's two different kinds of festivals: you have the one or two-night Skrillex, big name events that happen, (and) you have the five-day festivals that are happening. For somebody to come to Whistler and to spend the money, they would want to (stay longer). It's more of a mature crowd."

Passes — which range from $166 for the weekend reggae and hip hop pass Saturday, Sunday and Monday, to $250 for the full five days — are set to be available in outlets shortly. They'll feature an elaborate five-layer pass that includes info on bear safety, a bus pass and other information. "It's much more about bringing tourism to the region," Moran says. "Sure, for the first year we're not going to get 10,000 people here, but we're definitely going to put something on that we can build on and gather momentum and bring people and money into the area."

For more information visit www.believefreedomfestival.com.

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