Squamish Music Festival Guide and Camping Tips
The Squamish Music Festival: It’s western Canada’s largest outdoor music event! If you’re planning on heading out to beautiful Squamish, British Columbia to attend their annual Squamish Valley Music Festival, be prepared for great musical performances and a unique camping experience. The festival usually happens in August or September, every year.
Last year’s Squamish Music Festival brought in an attendance of over one hundred five thousand festival goers, fourteen thousand four hundred sixty campers (including premium “glamping” campers) all on 81 luxurious acres of astonishingly gorgeous British Columbia wilderness. Surrounded by mountains, forests, blue skies and clean fresh air, it simply doesn’t get much better than this. Over one hundred thousand visitors comfortably find their own places to chill out in the little mountain region with a population of only fourteen thousand.
Over seventy artists took to last years four different Squamish Music Festival stages, 2015’s lineup featured top name artists such as Drake, Mumford and Sons, The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers, K-OS and Of Monsters And Men.
Chances are, if you attend the Squamish Music Festival you’ll probably be pitching a tent. The camping aspect is simply part of this festival’s experience. You’ll need to know what type of campground appeals to you, suits your needs, and fits your budget. You’ll also need to plan and prepare… read on!
Squamish Music Festival tidbits
The Squamish Music Festival used to be known as “LIVE at Squamish,” changing their name officially to the Squamish Valley Music Festival after several successful years since their 2010 launch. Although it’s just a baby on the music festival scene, having only five years under it’s belt, it rapidly became the Pacific Northwest’s largest contemporary music festival! This event generates a huge amount of tourism dollars for the region.
Some of the biggest names in music have headlined the Squamish Music Festival, helping to make the event a huge annual success. Artists such as Canada’s The Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire and Metric have taken to the stage, as well as American favourites such as Queens of the Stone Age, Weezer and even Devo have all gotten down in the rugged mountains of Squamish, BC.
The Squamish Valley Music Festival is located annually at Centennial Field, Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields, Squamish, British Columbia Canada. Squamish is about a 50 minute drive north of Vancouver BC, and 35 minutes south of Whistler BC. The event is close to the highway, and pretty easy to get to.
Shuttles will take festival goers from Whistler and Vancouver to the Squamish Music Festival, which is a great way to travel without leaving a huge carbon footprint – or paying for parking and having to leave your car parked somewhere at the festival.
If you’re lucky to live close enough to to be able to ride your bike to the Squamish Music Festival, you’ll be pleased to find out they offer free festival bicycle valet! Your bike will be securely parked, stowed and ready for you when you need it. Every year more and more cyclists are taking their bikes to the event, and the festival organizers love it!
There are also ride share events, to help festival goers get to the Squamish Music Festival together – signing up for the online ride-share.com site will help you find your ride. If you have room in your vehicle, why not offer up a couple seats to some people who need them?
Where to Camp
Once you purchase your Squamish Music Festival pass, you’ll then need to decide which camping package is ideal for you and your crew. For a cool $350, a General Camping Package earns you:
- Four camping wristbands, and one camping site for the group of four. Once you and your party check in at the gate you will be given your camping wristbands marked with your site number, ensuring that all campers are set up within their designated campsite. General Campsites have a maximum capacity of four campers. You can choose to have less, but not more, and the cost is the same. Each camping site is 10 by 12 feet in size, the perfect amount of space for all campers to set up a temporary spot to chill out.
- Use of amenities such as water refill stations, toilets and showers.
- A clean environment: garbage and recycling receptacles with a strict “leave no trace” policy – that means whatever you bring in, you must dispose of properly or take out when you leave.
If you’re looking for something a little more on the pampered side, you might be willing to shell out $1299 for the Glamping (Glamour + Camping) Package! The “Glampsite” is located inside the actual festival grounds itself, which is only one of the nice perks this package offers. When you go Glamping at the Squamish Music Festival, you might not ever want to return to the regular campsite again, the features are pretty impressive:
- Four Glamping package wristbands, and one campsite
- A larger fifteen by fifteen foot campsite in the tree-lined field within the festival site
- Air conditioned flushing toilet trailers – yep, air conditioned toilets!
- Complimentary access to the premium hot shower facilities
- Free ice as needed
- Free water as needed
- Free wireless Internet access
- Free lockers to store your important belongings and keep them secure while you roam the Squamish Music Festival grounds all day
- A free cell phone charging station, to keep you connected
- Dedicated premium access gate to festival grounds with easy access during the festival’s open hours
- 1 parking spot close to the festival site as well as shuttle to the campground
- A dedicated check in and customer service area
If you’re looking for hotels…
There are several hotels in Squamish but of course they do fill up very quickly during the Squamish Music Festival season, so it’s wise to book a room as early as possible!
The Best Western Mountain Retreat
38922 Progress Way
tel: 1 604 815 0883
Executive Suites Hotel & Resort
40900 Tantalus Road
tel: 1 604 815 0048
Supplies To Bring With You
As soon as you’re within the perimeter of the Squamish Music Festival grounds, you know that prices for things like food and drinks will increase, therefore you’re going to want to bring along your own supply!
On The Farm Country Market and Flower Shop is a local market and a regional favourite. Open seven days a week, this market’s philosophy is to encourage the art of cooking using locally sourced fresh foods, and giving back to the Squamish Music Festival’s home town community through initiatives such as supplying the ground cover for the SORCA bike skills park. This market is the perfect pit stop to stock up your supplies of local, organic, and healthy snacks before heading to the event. You can also find anything you might need at any grocery store along the way. Think healthy, nutritious, energy packed snacks:
- Granola bars
- Peanut butter
- Fruit such as apples, bananas, grapes
- Cereal bars
- Snack sized tins of flavoured tuna
These make great go-snacks when you need a quick bite. Also make sure you always have a water bottle handy, and keep it full – keeping yourself hydrated is the number one priority, especially at an outdoor festival where you’ll be stomping all over the Squamish Music Festival grounds day and night and more than likely consuming at least a little alcohol, right?
Gas stoves are permitted on the grounds, but the Squamish Music Festival doesn’t allow charcoal grills or campfires – there are simply too many campers to allow for hundreds of bonfires lighting up the valley each night. So make sure to have with you:
- A gas grill, and appropriate type and amount of fuel
- A big cooler and plenty of ice – ice will also be available at the Squamish Music Festival for a fee. Stash all your perishables in a cooler and save big bucks on festival food
- Enough water to keep you going a day until you can establish yourself at the available water refill stations
- A durable tent and rainfly or tarp in case of wet weather – keeping dry will keep you and your crew happy
- A sleeping bag appropriate for the forecast
- Padding for under your sleeping bag – don’t skimp on at least a little layer of comfortable padding
- Folding chairs, unless you’re happy on the ground, in which case…
- A waterproof ground mat – this could be tarp, or even a pillow in a plastic bag. Anything to create a barrier between your behind and potential damp ground.
- A couple changes of clothes
- Baby wipes and a bottle of baby powder come in very handy when dealing with the daytime sweatiness, when the shower isn’t an option due to schedule or super long lines.
- Ear plugs… There will come a time when you actually want to pause the Squamish Music Festival fun and get some shut-eye, and that will be the exact time your neighbouring campers will kick up their party a notch.
- Here’s where it might seem kind of funny but it’s important to bring something uniquely decorative. Making sure your tent stands out in a sea of nylon tents is imperative, especially if it’s late at night and you’ve been partying most of the day. Scarves, flags, anything that can help you recognize your tent – avoid anything that lights up at night though. Nobody wants to be kept awake by their neighbour’s tent beacon.
- Rolls of toilet tissue are a must – do not count on the five thousand people who have used the loo before you to have left you any toilet paper, even if toilets are maintained throughout the day.
- A pair of flip flops will be ideal when you’re chilling out at your campsite, but a sturdy pair of shoes are absolutely necessary to take part in the music festivities.
- Sunscreen – Don’t take chances with the sun! Even on overcast days, harmful UV rays can cause lasting damage you might not even notice until you’re older.
What to do…
When gates don’t open until 1:00 pm every day, Squamish Music Festival goers have to get resourceful to keep themselves occupied. Fortunately, Squamish BC is rich in adventures, activities and exploring opportunities for those who care to take a look around the beautiful region.
The Whistle Punk Mini Golf Course is within easy walking distance from the Squamish Music Festival camping grounds, and white water rafting adventures await those adventurous folks who plan on arriving a day early to spend a jour au rapides.
Squamish Music Festival patrons will also be happy to know that kiteboarding, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and hiking opportunities abound for the adventurous and athletic festival goer. If all these suggestions leave you feeling a little winded, rest assured that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to sleep off a night of intense partying, catch up with your favourite book, chat up your campground neighbours and hit up the numerous food trucks on site!
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!