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Skookum Music Festival hopes to hit the high note
Published Saturday, September 8, 2018 5:00PM PDT
As popular music festivals have folded in recent years in the province, Skookum organizers believe they have found the formula for success.
“The city-based festivals are thriving,” festival director Paul Runnals said. “People can have that great festival experience, and still go home and sleep in their own bed at the end of the night.”
Runnals was the creator and producer behind Squamish Valley Music Festival, which was unexpectedly cancelled in 2016.
He said events where attendees have to camp on site accumulate extra costs and resources.
“The costs of building campgrounds, the liability, the amount of work that has to go into public safety planning when you’re keeping 25,000 people alive in a field for a weekend, those become prohibitive,” he explained.
“Especially when you’re paying U.S. dollars to artists, tremendous artists, but we’re not recouping that revenue in U.S. dollars on the ticketing side. So it is a challenging model to make work and I think that’s one of the reasons you saw those failures in recent years.”
Runnals is also behind other well-known events, including the Celebration of Light and the Grey Cup festivals. He believes the relationship he’s built with the city and first responders have helped Skookum become approved quickly.
Organizers also collaborated with Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to use Stanley Park as the three-day event’s backdrop.
Runnals said it is critical that the 20,000 festival-goers preserve the pristine park in order for the event to be welcomed back in the future.
“Everybody that comes in buys into the concept: respect the land, respect the other users of the park and we can keep on doing this for a while.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Ben Miljure