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The LIVE At Squamish experience

Did the first year festival live up to its promise of "happy times in a big field"?

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Maddeesun McLeod and Sam Leblanc were two of the music lovers who were intrigued by the lineup and were drawn from their respective homes in Victoria and Whistler to check out the first-year festival. Leblanc was keen to check out Tokyo Police Club, The Decemberists, Said The Whale, Z-Trip and Dirty Vegas, while McLeod pointed out that the timing was perfect - held at the beginning of September, it gave people a chance to end their summer with a bang.

"Devo was so weird, it was kind of awesome," McLeod reflected.

Both say they will come back if the festival returns next year.

In addition to the lineup, organizers also nailed a few logistical issues that helped make the festival-going experience fun and fairly trouble-free:

 

The venue

With the Stawamus Chief acting as a stunning natural backdrop (and amphitheatre, as I'm sure some residents will grumble), concertgoers were able to soak up some of Squamish's natural beauty as they enjoyed the music. Organizers spread the three stages (the Stawamus main stage, ClubZone and SERF Stage) out over the sprawling site, which stretched across the Logger Sports grounds and Hendrickson ball diamonds. Someone had their thinking cap on when they decided to put the ClubZone Stage smack-dab in the centre of the Logger Sports arena, with the stage facing out onto fenced-off stands that served as a beer garden. Yes, you read that correctly: people could actually enjoy a drink AND easily see the stage. Earth-shattering stuff!

"To tell the truth, I've been to Sasquatch Festival, and this is a way better layout," Leblanc said, pointing to the Chief in the background.

Vendors, water stations and port-a-potties were scattered strategically around the site and there seemed to be plenty of all to go around.

 

Transportation

Anyone who took part in Pemberton Festival '08 would probably tell you that transportation was a nightmare. In some cases (my own, namely), it took hours to get on or off site and shuttle service was sporadic, at best. Whether it was because their numbers were smaller or they were learning from others' mistakes, LIVE At Squamish organizers seemed to have their heads on straight when it came to getting people to and from the festival. First, they cut off vehicle access on Finch Drive to create a biking route and encouraged people to walk or bike to the site.  They even offered a "bike valet," which was crammed with people's two-wheeled chariots on both days. They also offered plenty of pay parking and encouraged people to carpool to save money if they needed to drive to the site. Apparently there was also a park and ride shuttle service running from downtown Squamish.