ValhallaFest is polishing up final touches as they prepare for their second annual electronic music festival this weekend from June 21 to 23.
After a successful run last year, the event will have more activities to offer as number of attendees are expected to double.
“We’re kind of surprised at how quickly tickets are going right now… we’re cutting the sales off at 1,000 this year and with the estimations, we think we’re going to sell out this year,” says Jordie Laidlaw, director of art and co-founder of ValhallaFest.
“We’ve actually sold tickets to people from the U.K. and from the U.S.A. [since] we see where they’re from when they purchase [online].”
From new campsites, more performing artists, a variety of workshops and installations added, he says he’s impressed with the level of enthusiasm coming from everybody as they countdown the days.
“We want the people who go, to be the people who really want to be there and want to participate and be part of the culture,” says Laidlaw. “We kind of want to make it less about us just entertaining everyone but more about it being a massive community of creative people doing stuff together.”
He says they will have a board by the main stage that displays the array of activities taking place each day, which will also have “unofficial events” that people can spontaneously volunteer to run. Their hope is that people will be inspired to try something different and make new friends.
Some of their official events include a watercolour workshop, a glassblowing stand, meditations, fire dancers and other craft-type sessions led by artists.
“[We always had a] strong interest in doing an artsy and artistic festival over the course of the weekend, so it really seems everything is falling into place more than anything,” Laidlaw says.
When it comes to aesthetics, he says their aim is to illustrate a Viking and Norse theme into all aspects of ValhallaFest. Everything they create and name has a story of mysticism behind it such as their main bridge into the stage area, which has been painted several colours and intended to represent the mythical “Burning Rainbow Bridge” that connects Midgard (Earth) to Asgard, the realm of gods.
As for the stage itself, which has been painted black to double as a canvas for the digital art throughout the performances, he says attendees will have the opportunity to dance again in a “shadow box”. To enhance the concert experience, they have laid out a kilometre of LED screen lights around the stage area along with a canopy above to provide ambient lighting.
They’ve also scattered glow-in-the-dark rocks and put up solar-powered lanterns on the main paths to help navigate the pathway back to the campsites. Facilities, such as flush toilets and showers, will also be available this year following the matching grant they received from the Amplify BC Live Music Program.
Laidlaw adds they will have “refuge” volunteers and places readily available throughout the three days of the festival for anyone that feels distressed with everything going on.
“They are mostly social workers and psychiatrists [because] ValhallaFest might be overstimulating for some people with the noise, lasers, lights and projections. Some people might get anxious in those crowds,” Laidlaw says.
”This really is a place that they can go away from the flashing lights, further away from the music and have a safe space where they can rest, have water and talk to someone if they need to.”
For those attending with children, Laidlaw says ValhallaFest has created a specific campsite at the entrance dedicated for families with a few general guidelines that must be respected by anyone underage. They’ve also been posting ‘Breakfast Beaver’s Tips’ on their Facebook page to let everyone know in advance what is expected to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
And as space is limited when it comes to vehicle parking, Diversified Transporation will be providing shuttle services this year to ValhallaFest departing every half hour from the Northern Motor Inn.