I have a love/hate thing for festivals.
I mostly love them. When I lived in Whistler, I witnessed a lot of festivals, particularly in the summer months. Mountain biking, writing, yoga, BBQ, children, food and wine, skiing and snowboarding… there’s a festival for that. I dabbled in as many festivals as I could (actually, I partook in all of the festivals I just mentioned in one way or another), with varying degrees of enjoyment.
However, some elements of festivals grind my gears just a little. I was reminded of this mid-day Friday as I made my way up to Whistler Village for an eye doctor appointment (I can’t tear myself away from my Whistler doctor — she’s too good!) and battled Ironpeople and their posses, who had taken over Whistler Village and surrounding areas in anticipation for the IronMan race. I don’t really have any beef with IronMan — actually, I have mad respect the athletes who partake in it — but circling through the Village and the Benchlands trying to find a parking spot, even though the event itself wasn’t for another two days, I was reminded about the cons of hosting major festivals and events.
All that is kind of a weird intro to say that I participated in my first Squamish festival this weekend (not counting the now defunct Squamish Music Festival). I came across the Squamish Wind Festival on Facebook (I think? Maybe it was on the radio…) and checked out the website to see what it entailed. My limited research told me that there would be live tunes and food carts downtown, which sounded pretty decent to me. I also had a buddy in from out of town who was guiding a group of tourists through the area, and it seemed like the perfect place to catch up.
When I pulled up to the festival on Friday evening — wait, before I get ahead of myself, I want to note that it was ridiculously easy to find a parking spot downtown Squamish. There were tons of spaces. I’ve read that people are stressing about limited downtown parking, but clearly these people have never had to park in Whistler two days before IronMan.
Okay, so I pulled up to the festival, and it was pretty small. Its size was limited to the square where the Farmers’ Market takes place, and there were three food trucks and a few extra booths lined along the road. Despite its tiny size, I was impressed at how well-attended it was. Plenty of families were chilling out in the area, some with lawn chairs and picnic blankets set up.
Entertainment consisted of a mix of live bands and tunes coming from a DJ booth. The Squamtones took the stage at 7:30, and the visitors in my friend’s tour group were jamming along and busting a few dance moves (a few cups of brew from the Black Kettle Brewery booth may have had a hand in this). I sampled a watermelon juice from the Mountain Squeeze cart and mini donut from Dee’s Donuts — both were delectable.
Towards the end of the evening, I found myself talking with a visitor from the Netherlands. She told me that there was a huge music festival going on in her hometown, and her friends had been teasing her by sending her photos of the festival and saying how she was missing out. She told me she’d snapped a photo of the lit up stage, the Chief towering in the background, and told them that she was at a festival of her own — and that the views were way better than the festival back home.
I admit that I only got a little taste of the Squamish Wind Festival, but I liked the small town charm and community vibe it had. I award it three gusts of wind.