LIVE at Squamish festival has Mayor Greg Gardner in an upbeat mood

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      Squamish mayor Greg Gardner is feeling pretty chipper this morning as his town gets ready to host one of the biggest musical festivals of the year.

      "All of the hotels in town are filled for this weekend—and a few days before—not only with tourists, but with the acts and their support teams," Gardner told the Straight by phone.

      He quickly added that beyond the direct economic impact, he feels the greatest benefit will come from all the publicity that the two-day LIVE at Squamish Music and Arts Festival is generating across North America.

      "There was an advertisement on one of the Monday night NFL games that showed footage of the put-up and takedown of the stage," Gardner commented. "That was seen by everyone who watched Monday Night Football. So that was an example of the reach of a festival like this."

      The lineup through today and tonight will be headlined by Girl Talk, and will also feature the John Butler Trio, and Hey Ocean!, among many others. [The entire lineup can be found here].

      Tomorrow (August 21), Weezer, Metric, and Black Mountain are among those scheduled to perform.

      Gardner noted that the main stage is framed by the Squamish Chief, a huge, 700-metre block of granite that attracts rock climbers from around the world.

      "I think it paints Squamish in a very good light," Gardner said. "We're obviously in an area that has incredible natural beauty."

      He recalled being approached in the spring of 2010 by brand.LIVE, which wanted to organize a music festival later that year. "My reaction was, 'Yes, the community would support this wholeheartedly'," Gardner said. "They put together a big festival last year on very, very short notice. I was amazed by what they accomplished in a short time frame."

      Just hours before the second annual festival was about to begin, he said he's looking forward to this year's event.

      "I attended both days last year," he stated. "I have young sons, 17 and 21, so I was familiar with about half of the acts last year, and enjoyed it very much."

      This will likely be the last LIVE at Squamish festival that Gardner will be able to attend in town as the mayor. The veteran car dealer told the Straight that he's not running for reelection in November.

      "I'm quite sincere in saying I want a bit of a break," he said. "I don't have any plans at this time to do anything else in politics, but you never know."

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