While things have more or less got back to normal in the clubs, these have remained challenging times for music festivals on the West Coast. Major legacy celebrations like the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Vancouver Jazz Festival had to get extra-creative in their approaches this year—that tied into everything from rising production costs to changes in entertainment consumption patterns.
Other fests decided to take a year off to rethink their business models, including the upstart Squamish Constellation Festival up the Sea to Sky.
The future of the festival that brought us the Black Pumas, Andy Shauf, Bahamas, Serena Ryder, and Sarah McLachlan over the past few years is still unwritten. Music fans looking for an escape to one of the province’s most beautiful locations, meanwhile, have good news as summer fades away.
The team behind Constellation has announced the first Squamish Harvest Moon Festival, running on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30).
Taking place outside the Railway Museum of BC, the one-day event features headliner Rayland Baxter, whose whip-smart fusion of downbeat indie-pop, swaying alt-country, and sunkissed indie rock has earned raves everywhere from Paste and Interview to NPR and Forbes. Yes, that’s right, Forbes—which, if that wasn’t weird enough, sat down with Baxter in the one-time hipster Mecca of Williamsburg.
Topping the undercard will be ever-reliable roots acts the Bentalls and Nice Horse, American Idol-approved Cameron Whitcomb and Sara Beth, fast-rising bluesman Garret T. Willie, and perennial Squamish fave Will Ross.
As part of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Squamish Harvest Moon Festival has also invited Squamish Nations elders, dancers, drummers, and singers to be part of the event.
In a release announcing the festival, organizer and producer Kirsten Andrews says, “We are still in the process of recovering from Covid and what amounted to a very ambitious return in 2022. While we were not able to put on a Constellation Festival this summer, we are thrilled to be producing the Squamish Harvest Moon Festival.”
Speaking volumes about the challenges of putting on events today, the festival is looking for last-minute volunteers to help with both pre-production and the show itself. The deal? Put in five hours of work and you get all-day access to the show.
As for the public, the zero-waste Squamish Harvest Moon Festival encourages attendees to bring camping chairs, although there will also be hay bales and picnic tables.
Early bird tickets are now sold out, but advance tickets are available at $59, with that jumping to $69 the day of the show. Children aged six to 12 are $29, with those five and under getting in free.
Still not entirely clear on what to expect from the Squamish Harvest Moon Festival?
Organizers promise a day “where old-school county fair kitsch meets alt-country reverb, autumnal harvest treats, and grooving under the magical harvest moon and stars!”
In other words, as difficult as this concert season has been, it’s not all bad.
Squamish Harvest Moon Festival
When: September 30
Where: Railway Museum of BC