Motion approved to make SKOOKUM Music Festival an annual event

Jun 11 2019, 11:42 pm

On Monday evening, the Vancouver Park Board voted to add SKOOKUM Music Festival to its annual Calendar of Major Special Events, starting in 2020.

The three-day event was first held on September 7 to 9, 2018, and saw more than 50,000 people attend.

The festival was headlined by The Killers and Florence + The Machine and included four stages, a wide range of food options, and multiple art installations.

Now, with SKOOKUM approved by the park board, a return for 2020 seems much more likely.

“SKOOKUM received a predominantly positive response from attendees, artists, suppliers, Vancouverites, and visitors to the city,” reads a staff report. “A number of areas for improvement were also identified.”

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The report notes that 30% of SKOOKUM’s programming was delivered by indigenous artists. The host nations of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh were also recognized through video, the employment of arts groups from the host nations, and kiosks to explain local history.

Shuttle bus services, car sharing services, and environmentally friendly transportation (walking, biking, and public transit) were also promoted. SKOOKUM was also the first event ever held at Brockton to use 100% green power.

Overall, the event produced $17.3 million in regional economic benefits. Of that amount, $8.7 million came from region event attendees.

Areas for improvement

One issue with the festival, however, was an abundance of noise complaints. Over 100 complaints were made, originating from Coal Harbour, the West End, and the North Shore.

Future adjustments for SKOOKUM could include sound monitoring stations, active response to noise complaints, and ending performances earlier in the evening.

The report also calls for additional enforcement to ensure that smoking by-laws are not broken.

The event also saw challenges related to the high use of car-sharing services and extended waits for public transit.

Conditions from the Vancouver Park Board

Although SKOOKUM has been added to the Calendar of Major Special Events, it will be subject to annual review by the park board and host nations.

The Park Board will be able to approve or disapprove any major changes to the festival, and they will have the right to remove the Festival if needed.

If, or when, the event does return, maximum daily attendance is also expected to be increased from 20,000 to 25,000, meaning that future attendance could surpass 60,000 attendees.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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