If Squamish residents want to see more outdoor music concerts in their community, they need to support them, says the executive producer of one of the biggest shows in town.
So far, local backing for Live at Squamish has been weak, Paul Runnals said last Thursday (July 5).
“We are moving more tickets in Seattle than we are in Squamish,” he said.
Last year, the weekend-long music festival saw more than 16,000 people come through the gates. Only 351 of the concert's online ticket sales were purchased by people with Squamish postal codes. Although that figure rose by 164 from the inaugural 2010 festival, the numbers are disappointing, Runnals said.
The festival's experience is in sharp contrast from results of a recent District of Squamish survey. In a 2012 Parks and Recreation Master Plan questionnaire, most Squamish residents — 30 per cent — stated they wanted to see more music and outdoor concerts in Squamish. Sports competitions were next on the wish list at 13 per cent, closely followed by family and kid-friendly events at 12 per cent.
It's imperative that locals get behind festivals such as Live at Squamish if they are to grew and entice more entertainment up Highway 99, Runnals said. Squamish's participation mimics Whistler residents' involvement in ticketed concerts, he said, noting citizens in the resort municipality are used to attending free events.
The cost to mount the festival is more than $1 million, Runnals said. This year, brand.Live, the promotions company that stages Live at Squamish, aims to get 25 to 30 per cent of Squamoleons to come out to the concert. As an incentive, brand.Live as selling discounted local tickets — $152. In total, 40 acts will be featured at the festival, which works out to $5 per band.
Over the past two years, the festival has brought in more than $1.5 million worth of economic impact to Squamish, Runnals said. This time around he anticipates the event will draw $1 million worth of outside money into Squamish.
Brand.Live isn't ready to pack its bags on Squamish, but when the majority of concert goers drive from hundreds of kilometres away and the locals stay at home, company officials start to question whether they're in the right place, Runnals said.
“There are always other places to stage events,” he said.
Squamish residents can buy the tickets at Trinity Romance, The Adventure Centre and Stuntwood.