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Stage is set for LIVE at Squamish

Town ready to welcome thousands to weekend music festival

From traffic management to parking spots, to police and ambulance, preparations for the LIVE at Squamish music festival are in full swing, said Katie Harris, project manager for the festival.

Now, the only fingers being crossed are for good weather.

"Let's hope we don't get the rain on the weekend," Harris said.

Harris was speaking to Eric Armour, the president of Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association (DSBIA), making a short stop at his Trinity Romance Shop as she zipped from one business to another in downtown Squamish, offering business owners a chance to partner with the LIVE at Squamish music festival.

"We want to build a partnership with the local community because we will be doing this for five years and hopefully longer," she said.

She said festival organizers are expecting anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 people will show up at the festival, adding that the majority of ticket holders will be coming from Squamish, and the Lower Mainland.

"We have three parking lots right next to the Al McIntosh grounds. We are encouraging people to use Centennial Way as an access route to avoid disruption on the highway," she said.

Finch Drive will be closed to the public to allow access for police and ambulance, she added. There is a bike valet for those who plan to bike to the festival.

There will be 20 traffic managers manning the access points to the grounds and roughly the same number of medical staff on the ground to deal with any emergency situation. The organizers have also arranged for 100 security guards to avoid any untoward incident. The Squamish RCMP will also marshal forces to make sure the festival goes smoothly.

"There will be an extra team of officers on the highway for anticipated higher traffic counts and the detachment will see extra police officers brought in to police the event," said Cpl. Dave Ritchie of the Squamish RCMP detachment.

He said given the presence of a beer garden inside the festival grounds, the police will be extra vigilant.

"As they are having multiple beer gardens and large crowds, police will be taking a zero tolerance approach to drugs, alcohol and rowdy behavior in and around the venue," Ritchie said.

With plans in place for traffic and emergency services, Harris is hoping the event will run as smoothly as possible.

"This is our first event here in Squamish, but we are a very experienced company and we have organized large events before, such as the Sarah McLachlan show and the Neil Young concert in Vancouver," she said.

Meanwhile, downtown Squamish merchants are making sure the thousands who come to enjoy the festival don't go away without venturing downtown and looking at what the main drag has to offer.

The DSBIA will provide free shuttles from the festival ground to the downtown area, said Eric Armour, the president of DSBIA.

He said events like this will put Squamish on the map.

"This is really exciting. We have tons of people coming and this is great exposure for Squamish. I'm also happy that the organizers are willing to work with local businesses," he said.

With unique promotions and special draws for tickets, downtown merchants are also trying to stir excitement.

Armour's business, the Trinity Romance Shop, is holding a draw for tickets to the festival. Correy Matheson, the owner of The Nature Nest in downtown Squamish, is also offering a draw for a ticket with purchases of $50 from her store.

"This really puts Squamish on the map. It tells people out there that we are not just an outdoor recreational community," she said.