Despite the absence of Pemberton Festival and Whistler's short-lived festivals like 2009's Music in the Mountains and Whistler Music Festival in 2008, there still seems to be plenty of live music planned for the Sea to Sky corridor this summer. But this little thing called the HST kicked in at the beginning of July, stretching everyone's budgets even more than usual. So to help you decide how to invest your hard-earned dollars, we've compiled a comprehensive list of the four main festivals set to take place in the region this summer:
Bonfire Music Festival - Billed as "a uniquely British Columbian festival experience," this three-day event promises to be a laidback, arts-infused weekend of great music, camping and all-around good times: absolutely no aggro allowed. This is actually the sixth year for Bonfire, but only the first year it's been held in the Sea to Sky region. (B.C. Ferries' price increases and lineups were a bit of a deterrent to potential concertgoers from the mainland in previous years.)
"We also saw a void after the Pemberton Festival was cancelled yet again," explained founder Keith Duggan. "While that festival is nothing like Bonfire (we're smaller, more intimate, non-corporate/family owned and operated), we still felt like the people up in that region wanted a music festival they could call their own... and we felt Bonfire was an event they would like to call their own."
Now, organizers have found a home base for 2010 and beyond in the Moon Farm's 40-acre site, which features open fields, a 360-degree view of snowcapped mountains and the glacier-fed Gates River running alongside the site. They are expecting around 500 people to soak up some solid roots, groove, jazz, bluegrass, funk and folk. Don't come expecting to hear heavy metal, hard rock, country, hip hop or electronica.
In previous years, the festival has attracted people from Northwestern Washington, Vancouver Island, the Interior, the Sea to Sky corridor and Vancouver.
"I think our crowd is mostly drawn from all over the place because of the kind of music we do, and we are the only festival in Western Canada that offers this product," Duggan reflected. "Bonfire is the only 'jam band' style festival up here. We built this event thinking of US festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, 10,000 Lakes, Wakarusa, Gathering of the Vibes... that type of festival."
Where: The Moon Farm, 9506 Pemberton Portage Road, Birken
Cost: Weekend passes, $80 (includes camping and parking) or $100 at the gates, youth aged 11 to 15, $50, kids under 10, free. Day passes range from $20 to $40 (www.bonfirefestival.com)