Drake, Mumford and Sons and Sam Smith headline Squamish festival 

Twenty more artists expected to be added to the current lineup of 53 performers for August festival

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Grammy winner Sam Smith is one of three headliners for this year's Squamish Valley Music Festival.
  • Photo submitted
  • Grammy winner Sam Smith is one of three headliners for this year's Squamish Valley Music Festival.

Mumford and Sons, Drake, and Sam Smith are the headliners for the 2015 Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF).

In total, 53 artists have been confirmed so far for the three-day event, scheduled to take place at the Logger Sports Grounds and Centennial Fields in Squamish on Aug. 7, 8 and 9.

The other confirmed artists are Of Monsters and Men, Kaskade, Alabama Shakes, Brandon Flowers, Schoolboy Q, Mother Mother, Chance The Rapper, Adventure Club, Porter Robinson (Live), Hot Chip, The Kills, Milky Chance, Arkells, Vance Joy, Death From Above 1979, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Odesza, Royal Blood, Angus & Julia Stone, George Ezra, Bahamas, Kaytranada, A-Trak, Tchami, Gorgon City (DJ Set), Slightly Stoopid, K-os, Joel Plaskett With The Emergency, First Aid Kit, Mariachi El Bronx, Whitehorse, Robert Delong, Hannah Wants, James Bay, Elle King, Slow Magic, Benjamin Booker, The Funk Hunters, Sza, Bear's Den, Alvvays, Justin Nozuka, Dear Rouge, Peking Duk, P Reign, Tei Shi, Oliver, Mat The Alien, The River And The Road, Willa, Scott Helman, Old Man Canyon and Little India.

This is the festival's sixth year.

Erik Hoffman, the senior vice president of talent for organizers Live Nation, said the wide variety of artists is "definitely by design."

He added that while it's important to have mainstream acts at the top of the bill to attract the crowds, they didn't want to turn it into a Top-40 festival.

"We want people to come and see certain acts and then experience the diversity and get a bit of an education in music from other genres. Squamish is one of the few settings where you can be exposed and then you leave a fan of other acts," Hoffman said.

He added this was also why artists like to perform at festivals.

"It's the best forum to get new fans," he said.

The appeal and uniqueness of SVMF remains the fact it's an outdoor festival in the middle of a town.

"You do a major festival like Lollapalooza, it's centred in one spot downtown. It's interesting that Mumford and Sons is one of our headliners this year because they are gentlemen of the road. It's what they search to do," Hoffman says.

"What they like to do is exactly what we do in Squamish. They take over a small district or town."

Coming back for the second year are the pop-up concerts outside of the festival venue, in parts of the region like the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola.

"Sometimes you get caught up in programming the smallest band on first and biggest band on last, and the biggest band goes on the main stage only," Hoffman says.

"We're moving different levels of acts down to different sized stages and slots. A preview of something to come is that Bahamas, who are having a very successful year, he will play first. And there are acts after him who aren't as significant in popularity who will follow. We want that model for a full day of music."

He is particularly pleased at the way they've been able to bring in talent on the verge of exploding in popularity, like Macklemore in 2013 and Sam Smith this year.

"I just find that if you put the brand-new, discoverable act first then people feel like they'll get there when they get there. I think driving people as best as we can to take in the full curated experience is great."

Hoffman says the aim is to make SVMF the best in Canada, if not North America.

SVMF executive producer Paul Runnals talked about the "depth" of the lineup list.

"Some people will react if they see the headliner is not one of their all-time favourites and not see past that. This is the deepest lineup we've ever put out in that if you look at the poster and how far down you go in reading the names of the bands who are notable sell-out acts at places like the Commodore," he said.

Runnals wanted to let participants know they also plan to lower the price of the shuttle bus from the Lower Mainland.

Weekend passes go on sale on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. They will be available through Ticketmaster. Virgin Mobile members pre-sale started on Monday, Feb. 23.

A locals-only pre-sale sold over 1,000 early bird tickets on Sunday, Feb. 22 at the Squamish Adventure Centre.

More than 105,000 music fans attended SVMF last year, making it the largest outdoor music event in Western Canada. It generated an estimated economic impact of over $32 million over the four days of the festival. The festival is sponsored by Virgin Mobile.

The festival website is www. squamishfestival.com.



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