Losing my Music Festival Virginity
I love music as much as the next person. From Backstreet Boys and Aqua (I’m a 90s kid, give me a break) to Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground. I’m all over the place, and I love it. Growing up in semi-rural Alberta, even country music has a bit of nostalgic sentiment for me.
A few weeks ago I returned from Squamish Valley Music Festival. Although I’ve seen a few live bands before, Squamish opened my eyes to the true beauty that is live music. With a beat thumping in your chest, the smell of a joint in the air, and the lyrics of a song being sung by thousands of voices, I realized the true power of music. A sense of oneness, of harmony in our individual, intricate and connected paths through life can be felt in a single song.
So many there was a few joints.
After a strenuous yet scenic drive through BC, we arrived in the lush green valley of Squamish. With much whining and great difficulty, we lugged our camping gear to our spot and set up our tent. We could already hear music pumping from the stages less than a 20-minute walk away. After applying a few golden tribal tattoos and chugging some warm twisted teas, we followed our ears and found ourselves bobbing around to the Funk Hunters until we stumbled back to our tent, exhausted.
That Saturday we politely declined ASAP Rocky’s request to show our ‘titties’, but both him and Drake (who followed) put on pretty awesome shows. RIP Meek Mill?
Of Monsters and Men had an earthy, wanderlust feel to them. Their adorable Icelandic accents only make me love them more. They performed Dirty Paws, one of my favourite songs, perhaps because I envision a small woodland animal army overtaking a pipeline project. Maybe that’s just me though.
The second night at Squamish was a good one for EDM fans but trust me, you don’t need furry boots to understand the hype. What you do need is Porter Robinson, whose visuals, graphics, lights and waves of hypnotic, light-your-soul-on-fire beats will have you twirling glow sticks above your head before you can say MDMA.
The following night was Adventure Club, remixing well known music from the Lion King to Flight Facilities and pushing out energetic mood-boosting beats that have you (or at least me) jumping around doing moronic things with my hands and face.
It is of course, physically impossible to see all of the bands that performed, and there were times when some tough choices had to be made, or beer and food lines prevented us from seeing a full show. But I mean, they had food trucks selling perogies and grilled cheese etc. so you can’t really blame us.
The day that Milky Chance took the Tantalus stage, the sun was lighting up the valley and the surrounding mountains. The sweet folk energy of Milky Chance was enhanced by reggae-like drumbeats and their weird/cute German haircuts. A girl with flowers in her hair passed around a joint, and with the sun warm on my face, I looked around at the flowers and braids and flowy skirts, the mountains and the people, holding hands, joints and each other… I knew that I was hooked.
Amidst seas of flower headbands, man buns and jewelled eyes, there was something about the festival atmosphere that was entirely new to me. Despite thousands of young people congregating in a small place, the atmosphere was less about sex or drinking, but instead revolved around the music, and in doing so created bonds amongst festival goers that crossed all sorts of divides.
No matter what kind of music you like or where you come from, Squamish Valley Music Festival has something for everyone, and its impossible not to enjoy yourself when you wake up every morning to that view.
Back home and scarily close to being back at school, I know that as soon as the snow starts melting next spring I’ll be planning a trip to my next festival.