While almost all festivals and events have been cancelled in Squamish and around the globe, the Squamish Wind Festival has found a way to pivot to be able to still hold its events this summer.
The Squamish Wind Festival for the Arts is set for Aug. 1 to 28, with a "Distance Together Event Series."
The Squamish Arts Council-hosted series will include virtual livestreamed concerts, drive-in movies, workshops, art installations and more.
Pulling together a festival in the midst of COVID-19 has meant navigating uncharted and confusing waters, said Amy Liebenberg, executive director of the Squamish Arts Council.
"There were a lot of questions and confusion in March, which is ordinarily when we start planning our festival in earnest," she said. "All the festivals in B.C. started talking together and most of them cancelled their events."
The team behind the Wind Festival hung on and decided to forge ahead for this year to make opportunities for the community to connect and celebrate the arts in town, she said.
Physical distancing is still required, so the traditional festival model is not possible.
With the activities planned, COVID-19 protocols can be in place.
At the drive-in, for example, only 50 cars are allowed.
The livestreams may allow a limited number of people—who pay—to see the bands in person, while everyone else will be able to join in the fun for free.
Every event has a free component, in keeping with the original mission of Wind Fest, Liebenberg said.
"Absolutely everything is free. That is our main focus for this festival—that everyone gets to experience it... but there are a few VIP levels to this and all of the donations are going toward fundraising for youth art—specifically at-risk youth art scholarships. We are working with some of the charities and non-profits in Squamish as well to make sure we are sharing the love and collaborating with as many people as we possibly can," she said.
Lazy Ghost, Norman Foote and The Boom Booms are among the performers to be livestreamed. There will also be a Talking Trees Tour hosted by Talaysay Tours and a virtual market.
Organizers will release more details about each event closer to the festival.
Check back in at squamishwindfestival.com for more information as the event approaches.