The Squamish Valley Music Festival was founded and had its inaugural festival in 2010. In the height of popularity of music festivals across North America, BRANDLIVE and Live nation sponsored the inaugural festival in Squamish, British Columbia and were blown away by the attendance. By its final appearance in 2015, the festival was hailed as the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, with over 120,000 attendees. The festival has been cancelled by the major sponsors in light of a falling Canadian dollar and the competition from other festivals across the continent, including Bonaroo, Electric Forest, Lollapalooza, and Summer Camp.
The Squamish Valley Music Festival opened its first showing and the next five after that, with some of music’s biggest names, including international acts at the height of their popularity. Headliners like Weezer and The Decemberists started the festival out strong and by the last festival in 2015, the acts included international pop stars Sam Smith, Drake, and Mumford & Sons. The years in between were also no stranger to amazing artists, seeing the like of Queens of the Stone Age, Childish Gambino, Eminem, Arcade fire, and Bruno Mars.
Squamish Valley Music Festival was an event that stood out from many other music festivals in a very good way. The local people of Squamish loved the festival and encouraged its presence. In many towns across the country, festivals are held in back country areas and the residents of the small towns end up resenting the whole thing, regardless of what sort of financial benefits they may receive. Festival-goers are notorious for leaving behind a monumental mess when they take off after the festival is over. The local residents are forced to clean-up their own town, even though the festival itself is the one arguably responsible for the mess and the trash. In Squamish, there was nothing but disappointment in the cancellation of the festival. The small town had relished in the extra income and different cultures that got to experience their great hometown. After six years, many of the businesses in Squamish had actually come to depend on the sudden jolt in sales during the three-day festival in August. Its cancellation was both personally devastating to the residents and financially devastating to the city, itself.
The final nail in the coffin of the Squamish Valley Music Festival is a bittersweet one. While Squamish may not be seeing a new music festival in 2018, British Columbia is getting a re-vamp by the same sponsors of Squamish, BRANDLIVE. It was announced in the fall of 2017, BRANDLIVE had started a new festival called SKOOKUM and placed in a more popular spot, Vancouver. They kept their same stellar reputation for booking with headliners like The Killers, Florence & the Machine, Metric, and more. The festival is sure to be a hit, but can’t feel like more than a slap in the face to the lonely residents of Squamish, who used to have it all.