Eminem, Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire to headline Squamish festival as it expands

January 29, 2014

The Squamish Valley Music Festival has announced a major expansion and a monster lineup, with Eminem, Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire headlining the three-day event. The festival will also expand its footprint significantly in its fifth year, from 31 acres in 2013 to 70 acres this August.

"Our goal really is to make this the best festival in Canada at the very least, and we think that with our lineup and our statements today that we're going to deliver an event that will be in the best in class category across North America," said Live Nation Canada president Paul Haagenson at the announcement in Vancouver.

Among the 40 additional acts revealed Wednesday: Arctic Monkeys, Broken Bells, Foster the People, The Roots, Lykke Li, The Head and the Heart, Thievery Corporation, Tokyo Police Club, Sam Roberts Band, Serena Ryder, and Austra. More announcements are expected.

This year's festival, which runs Aug. 8-10, has expanded onto the Centennial Fields, allowing for the larger event, which organizers say will safely accommodate more than 35,000 people a day, up from 19,000 a day last year.

Mr. Haagenson says the $12-million festival will "with any luck" have an economic impact of $55-million in British Columbia.

The festival will include four stages this year, including a new mainstage on Centennial Fields, a second stage where last year's mainstage was located, an electronic dance music arena, and a fourth stage to showcase up and coming local artists. Among the B.C. artists on the lineup so far: The Zolas, We Are the City, Aidan Knight, and Louise Burns.

Officials say they have dealt with transportation and waste management concerns that followed last year's festival, and have hired a transportation expert who oversaw the transportation program for VANOC during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"We've reviewed all the issues that went wrong on the first day of last year. We actually solved them after that day," Erik Hoffman, Live Nation Canada vice-president of talent, told The Globe and Mail. "Obviously with more people coming up, there's a lot of other additional options for transportation. We're running a lot more shuttles form Vancouver and Whistler and we're going to have a longer period to welcome people into camping so it should be much more spread out. And then our consultants are doing a lot of operational analysis over and above that."

Bruno Mars won the Grammy for best pop vocal album this past weekend, and will perform at the Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday. Eminem has not played B.C. in more than a decade. Montreal's Arcade Fire was due for a summer date in B.C., with no Vancouver show on its previously announced Reflektor tour.

When asked whether organizers were pulling out all the stops this summer as a result of competition from a new summer music festival in Pemberton, B.C., Mr. Hoffman said this lineup has been in the works for an extended period of time.

"Some of these conversations have actually been going on for quite some time, before this year, and a lot of them came together in the same year," Mr. Hoffman said. "So we're faced with the best problem you could have and that's a diverse, massive lineup."

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