The biggest party to hit the Sea to Sky this summer is here, and the organizers of the Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF) have worked with district officials to ensure the right information is getting out to attendees and locals during the event's four days, Aug 7 to 10.
Taking place on 33 hectares - more than doubling the size of last year's site - spread out over Centennial Field, Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields, over 35,000 guests per day are expected to attend the festival's fifth rendition to see dozens of top musical acts from around the world, including headliners Eminem, Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire.
"Our town is hosting a festival that's becoming one of the pre-eminent music festivals in North America," said Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham in a release. "This is a milestone moment for our community as the spotlight is on Squamish and we welcome the world to our doorstep. We are so proud of the beauty of our town, the amazing business community, and the friendly nature of our locals."
For those driving to the festival, over 8,500 parking spots have been secured, with 3,500 assigned to campers and 5,000 to weekend and day visitors arriving in personal vehicles.
A parking area for campers has been added at Britannia Beach 10 minutes south of the event site with two kilometres of queuing capacity to reduce some of the highway backlog experienced on the first day of the festival in 2013, said executive producer Paul Runnals.
"As vehicles are coming in we're either going to send cars to park in the Sabre lot in the Industrial Park, or we're going to keep them and park them in Britannia" he said. "That's just us regulating the amount of traffic released back onto the highway, and it's obviously informed by what other volume of traffic is already on the highway."
A door-to-door shuttle will be available for campers parking in Britannia and a bus will circulate through parking lots near the festival site to shuttle people to their campgrounds.
Shuttle service will also be available for those travelling from Vancouver or Whistler at a cost of $50 per round trip. The bus will leave the resort at 3pm daily from Day Lot 5, coming back to Whistler at 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, as well as a 12 p.m. return trip on Monday, Aug. 11. Visit www.movesmedia.zaui.net for more information.
Organizers expect 75 per cent of campers to arrive the Thursday, with festival operations beginning at 4 p.m. Drivers should plan for increased highway volume throughout the day, although "highway gridlock" is not expected, according to the District of Squamish. The remaining campers are expected to arrive on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.
With SVMF partnering with several community programs, thousands of festivalgoers are being encouraged to explore Squamish before festival operations begin at 4 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. on the remaining days. Residents are being advised by local government to plan their outings accordingly to avoid these busy periods. If drivers need to use Highway 99, they're asked to avoid the areas around Finch/Industrial Way, Commercial Way and Cleveland Avenue if possible, especially during the morning rush.
Just over a third of campers are expected to leave the festival site Sunday evening, with the remaining two thirds predicted to leave the following day, beginning at 7 a.m.
A complimentary valet service will be offered to those arriving by bike inside the Brennan Park Recreation Centre on Loggers Lane. The rec centre will otherwise be closed during the weekend.
There will be over 500 security personnel onsite and in Squamish throughout the festival, plus an additional team of RCMP officers in support. A 24-hour Command Centre will operate from Wednesday, Aug. 6 to Monday to assist community members and visitors with security, medical and operational issues.
The weekend also marks the return of the On the Street Festival, with summer celebrations taking over Downtown Squamish. This street fair runs from Friday to Sunday and will feature pop-up music shows from festival performers, pancake breakfasts, an art market and sidewalk sales.
Located within walking distance of the campgrounds at 1861 Mamquam Road will be Mornings on the Farm, where visitors and locals can recharge in a relaxed atmosphere with live music, a farmers' market, coffee shop and more starting at 7 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Show your wristband at the Sea to Sky Gondola ticket window before 1 p.m. and receive $5 off gondola rides. A free shuttle will pick up and drop off guests from the festival grounds at the Squamish Adventure Centre.