Park Board votes in favour of adding Skookum festival to Vancouver’s annual events calendar
The Vancouver Park Board on Monday night unanimously approved a motion to add the Skookum festival to the city’s calendar of annual major special events starting next year.
A report forwarded to the Park Board had proposed that the event be given the green light to return, with an increase in total daily attendance from 20,000 to 25,000.
Skookum held its inaugural three-day run in September 2018, and despite damp weather attracted more than 50,000 revellers, according to the report.
In February, organizers announced they would take a break in 2019 and aim for a 2020 return.
WATCH: Local music to be featured along big acts at Vancouver’s inaugural Skookum Festival
In the report, staff describe the 2018 Skookum festival as an “overwhelming success.”
“The 2018 SKOOKUM Music Festival established a new marquis event for the city that recognized and showcased the uniqueness and diversity of Indigenous culture, enhanced the vibrancy of our city, and generated important benefits for a wide range of partners/stakeholders,” it concluded.
The report found that there were no major medical or safety issues at the 2018 event, nor was there damage to Park Board property, adding that protective flooring arranged by event organizers protected the grass at Brockton Oval.
WATCH: Skookum Festival hopes to succeed where other B.C. music fests failed
It concluded that the event generated $17.3 million in benefits to the regional economy, provided incremental revenues to the Park Board that were used to deliver non-budgeted services and programming, and led to legacy upgrades of Brockton Oval and Brockton Point.
It also lauded Indigenous participation in the event, noting that 30 per cent of festival programming was delivered by Indigenous artists.
However, the report also found areas for improvement at future events.
Those included “sound bleed” from the concert being “more significant than originally planned or anticipated,” with the city receiving more than 100 noise complaints from Coal Harbour, the West End and the North Shore.
Other problems included disregard for the city’s bylaw banning smoking in parks and traffic and transit bottlenecks.
Despite the hiccups, staff said they are “confident that the initiative can be executed successfully and as intended,” and recommend supporting the festival’s approval as an annual event, subject to yearly review by the Park Board and local First Nations.
It says the proposal is also currently under review by the three host First Nations — Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh — “and will move forward only with the support/endorsement of these three Stanley Park rights holders.”
Park Board staff will begin working with organizers and the city’s FEST committee to throw a 2020 festival along the same lines as the 2018 event.
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