SKOOKUM music and arts festival coming to Stanley Park in 2018
Jonathan Evans performs at the Squamish Valley Music Festival in 2015. (Postmedia Network/Files)
SKOOKUM, a new music, food and arts festival, is coming to Vancouver's Stanley Park next September.
The three day-long party in the park, set for Sept. 7-9, is presented by BrandLive, which previously produced the Squamish Valley Music Festival.
"In 2012, we produced the Sarah McLachlan School of Music fundraiser, which was the first major ticketed event of its kind to take place in the park," said BrandLive's Paul Runnals. "Looking around at the site, the crowd and feeling the vibe, it was obvious that we needed to do something else there. At that time we were growing Squamish, which went from 7,000 a day in year one to 40,000 a day in 2015, so we really didn't have the time or motivation to pursue the idea."
The Squamish Valley Music Festival was cancelled in 2016, due to a number of factors including rampant real estate speculation that is overwhelming the entire region. The Pemberton Music Festival pulled the plug in 2017 under a cloud of controversy. Given these, and other major music festival cancellations, why put on another one?
"The writing is on the wall as far as major camping festivals are concerned, I think," said Runnals. "The costs and liabilities associated with all the non-musical aspects of the production, the exchange rate and so forth, are not very viable. Also, there is a big potential demographic that is missed when you have three- or four-day-long events as opposed to one where you can attend one or a number of days but still sleep in your own bed at night."
Tapping into a wider audience than the traditional youth orientation of the typical music festival is proving successful to a number of larger American events. Runnals notes that, while music is still the focus, the increase in the food, art and other programs at these events reflects what is trending with contemporary tastemakers. It also allows events to appeal to an audience that is older and often better positioned to pay.
BrandLive's expertise in event productions in Vancouver includes the Honda Celebration of Light and Canada Day at Canada Place.
The Brockton Field complex is a 6.9-hectare (17-acre) site that the company plans on outfitting with multiple stages, live and multimedia art installations, roaming performers and a heavy emphasis on gourmet dining and B.C. wines, craft breweries and distillers. Post-park partying will be available through a branded SKOOKUM After Dark series of late night events in and around the downtown core.
"We have a 10-year plan which we couldn't have in Squamish, because Stanley Park isn't going anywhere," he said. "We've capped it at 20,000 the first year because we need to see how it goes getting people in and out of the park and making sure that we are working well with other park stakeholders such as the aquarium, the tourists coming to view the totem poles and so forth."
The full festival lineup will be announced in Spring 2018. For more information, visit skookumfestival.com