By Carlos Oen
Picking up where Pemberton and Squamish Valley Music Festival left off, Skookum Festival is shaping up to be one of the biggest active musical festivals in B.C. In Chinook Jargon, Skookum translates into strong, brave and impressive. With a lineup of 50 music artists, Skookum Fest aims to turn Vancouver´s Stanley Park into the province´s epicentre of live music and fun. The Killers, Florence + the Machine, Metric, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Milky Chance, Stereophonics, Greta Van Fleet, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Buffy Sainte-Marie are some of the acts that Vancouverites will be able to enjoy without having to leave the city.
Skookum is produced by BRANDLIVE, who for six years gave B.C. the critically acclaimed Squamish Valley Music Festival. For director Paul Runnals, one of the biggest trends in the music industry is city-based festivals such as Austin City Limits or Outside Lands. They appeal to a more mature audience for whom comfort is important. Music festivals have gone global and Skookum is placing Vancouver in the high-production circle.
“For people that are music fans, they are no longer looking only in their own communities for events. They are looking regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Runnals. “We are competing with everything out there.”
There are people coming from Europe, Latin America and the USA, but still 80 per cent of ticket sales are concentrated in the metro region. The three-day ticket is priced at $319 and a percentage of ticket fees will go to tree NGOs: Ocean Wise Life, Music Heals and the Stanley Park Ecology Society.
The 17 acres Brockton Fields at Stanley Park will be receiving close to 20,000 people per day. All ages are welcomed and there will be food options and an art pavilion. Being close to the city, Skookum is quite accessible by foot, bike or transit.
BRANDLIVE hopes to break the barrier between the mainstream and Indigenous cultures. They included the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in the planning. Almost 30 per cent of the stage programming is Indigenous content. There will also be First Nations performers and three interns, one of each nation, who are part of the group responsible for the success of the festival.
From top to bottom, Skookum is working hard to ensure they have provided a thoughtfully curated line-up that integrates national and international artists.
Skookum Festival takes place September 7 to 9 at Stanley Park.Skookum Festival