British Columbia

Skookum Festival set to return to Stanley Park in 2020

The Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously last night to add Skookum as a yearly major special event.

Proudcers to improve on noise impact, as well as traffic congestion and bylaw infractions

Despite the rainy weather, the inaugural festival drew around 50,000 people over three days. Now, it is set to return in 2020. (Johann Nertomb/CBC)

After a rainy inaugural run last year, the Skookum festival in Stanley Park is set to return in 2020.

The Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously Monday night to make the three-day music, food and art festival an annual major special event.

Park board commissioners made their decision after being presented a report that highlighted both the success of the 2018 event and areas for improvement.

"We all voted to have Skookum back and it was a bit of a surprise," said park board commissioner Tricia Barker.

"The previous vote we had was about not having any big events in parks."

Barker says the event's producers, BrandLive, worked hard to find solutions to issues the board raised from the first event.

She says the company also developed strong, respectful relationships with local Indigenous stakeholders, who all reported positive feedback.

The report recommends the festival's daily maximum attendance be increased from 20,000 guests to 25,000.

2018 event a success, says report

More than 50,000 people attended the event Sept. 7-9, according to the report.

The festival featured 52 stage performances with headliners including Florence + The Machine and the Arkells. The lineup also included 25 B.C. artists and a variety of food, beer and wine vendors.

The report says that overall, the event was well received despite some logistical issues, such as long lineups and bathroom shortages, as well as temperamental weather.

It also specifically noted the noise impact, smoking bylaw violations and traffic congestion.

There were more than 100 noise complaints during last year's event from neighbouring communities.

To help control this, Barker says BrandLive will place real-time sound monitoring stations around the edge of the park in order to get a better sense about where sound is bleeding the most.

"They listened to us at the park board and they listened to the community," said Barker, who added that a key reason for the festival's approval was the producers' willingness to learn and improve.

The 2018 festival had a sustainability crew on site to make sure that garbage was being properly disposed. (Johann Nertomb/CBC)

The report says BrandLive will double down on its efforts to curb bylaw infractions such as smoking and camping with increased signage, announcements and security personnel.

As for the traffic, which caused long waits, producers say dedicated car-sharing parking and stronger communication and collaboration with TransLink should help ease the pressure.

No date has been released for Skookum 2020, but Barker believes it will take place on the weekend after Labour Day.

Barker says the board has requested a post-event report for the 2020 festival.

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