Reviews

Squamish Valley Music Festival – August 9th 2015

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

This past Sunday, I officially lost my SVMF virginity, and it was glorious. The skies were blue, the beers were cold, and fanny packs ran free. Everywhere you looked there was merch, tattoos, crop tops, and line-ups. In other words, there was no escape from the magnificent mayhem of festival life. The only choice was surrender.

From the get-go, I was impressed by the set up of this festival. I tend to rag on the waste management of festivals, and while I did notice a shortage of food waste bins and oddly placed Encorp bins, I have to say that it could have been much worse! The grounds were large, but not overwhelming, and there was certainly no lack of activities to take part in. Aside from the obvious reasons for going, there was a ton of free swag, games, contests, food trucks, a market place set up to pass the time between sets.

Soon after arriving, I made a beeline for the beer garden near Stawamus stage, where the captivating Elle King was soon to perform. Inside this happy space was a Somersby-sponsored adult ball pit and a row of inviting hammocks–both of which I took full advantage of before settling down on the lawn for King. This Ohio-born singer came off a touch more country than I’d expected, but managed to capture my heart with her strong vocals, eclectic garb, and sassy-pants chat.

Elle King playing the Stawamus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Elle King playing the Stawamus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Robert DeLong was next on my list, however the promise of swag and cider drew me to the other side of the festival grounds, where I was immediately transfixed by Royal Blood. This UK duo killed it with their hard rock tunes, catching the attention of passersby and those kicking back in the media tent. Though I missed nearly all of DeLong, I decided to go with a ‘no regrets’ attitude—a necessary choice with lineups like Squamish has!

Mike Kerr of Royal Blood at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Mike Kerr of Royal Blood at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

As DeLong was singing his last note I was already up and off, joining the masses that were gravitating towards Milky Chance. This German duo, known for their reggae-infused electronic beats, was a clear crowd favourite. As ladies climbed on shoulders and the smell of botanicals filled the air, I was reminded that there is nothing quite like being caught in the midst of a surging throng of devoted fans. Milky Chance delivered a strong set to a willing audience, who took it in with relish and danced the tunes away.

Clemens Rehbein of Milky Chance at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Clemens Rehbein of Milky Chance at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Having built up an appetite at the Tantalus stage, I headed for the food trucks—a popular decision it seemed! In the words of one of my friends standing in a nearby lineup, we were in “a race of the tortoises”. After 45 minutes in this particular race, I had had enough—lucky for me my man was willing to stay behind with my order as I ran off to George Ezra (thank you!).

George Ezra swooning fans at the Stawamus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

George Ezra swooning fans at the Stawamus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Ezra was just as lovely as I’d imagined. He has one of those voices that make you melt, and his demeanor was pleasant as all heck. While many of his fans left after his most famous song, Budapest, his final tune was well worth the wait. The piece morphed from an earnest acoustic piece in to this kickass tune that completely transformed my view of the singer-songwriter. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the name of the song, but I’m not giving up!

Brittany Howard of Milky Chance at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Brittany Howard of Milky Chance at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Next up was Alabama Shakes—an astounding American rock band that absolutely blew me away. Not only does lead singer Brittany Howard have a ridiculously amazing set of pipes, but the heart that she poured in to every moment of her performance was nothing short of inspiring. Each member of this band is incredibly talented, and together they delivered a solid, non-stop set to their adoring fans.

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Up after Alabama Shakes was the headliner of the event, the much loved Mumford & Sons. While I am familiar with their music, I’m not actually as much of a die-hard, sing-along fan as pretty much everyone who was surrounding me. That said, I could see why people loved them so much, and why they are particularly popular in Canada—what with their maritime-esque sound and proclaimed love of our music (as proven by their mid-set Neil Young tribute).

Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Lead by the talented and beloved Marcus Mumford, Mumford & Sons performed a sensational set. They combined the perfect mix of hard and soft, old and new, and had the masses hanging on their every note. Cell phones swayed, videos recorded, and hashtags were born—in other words, it was a millennial’s wet dream.

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons at the Tantalus at Squamish Valley Music Festival 2015

Having never been to Squamish, or any other festival quite like it, I was struck by the fascination of it all. The costumes, the smells, and the excitement, as bodies move in unison to their favourite tunes, thoroughly intoxicated by the experience. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to lose my SVMF virginity. Thanks for the memories Squamish!

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