Live At Squamish Music Festival

Live At Squamish Music Festival – September 4, 2010 

The inaugural edition of Live At Squamish (LAS) occurred over the Labour Day Long Weekend. This new multi-stage music and arts festival took over the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields in Squamish, BC for two days of good times.

My British friend Jim, who is a veteran of music festivals back home in England, and I both thought it was a really well organized, well run event. (Could have used a couple more signs on the highway guiding vehicle traffic to the site but that’s easily fixed next year).  I’ve been to a few festivals both in England and Canada and found LAS to be better than most.

with "Square The Bear"

Even though the ticket sales weren’t as high as I’m sure organizers, brandLIVE would have liked, I really admire their strategy of having a 5 year plan to make LAS a success. It shows they are in it for the long haul and are determined to do it ‘right’.  This year’s music line-up was a fairly low key mix of local and foreign acts like: Said The Whale, Jon & Roy, Seb Fontaine, Matthew Good, Dirty Vegas, Mother Mother, Bad Religion, Devo, The Decemberists.
Although a ‘bigger’ name would have sold more tickets I think they were wise to keep it simple.  This allowed them to work any kinks out without being overwhelmed by massive crowds. 
The whole vibe of this event was very chill and relaxed.  The venue itself was beautiful, the main stage had The Stawamus Chief as the backdrop, the smaller stages were set amongst the trees. There was lots of room between the stages too which meant there was very little overlap of sound, an issue with some other festival sites. The sound at all the stages was excellent, the clubZone dance stage has a great light show as well from Tony Pantages.
The layout of the whole site was very well done too. The vendors were set up around the edges of the field so no matter where you were you could still see/hear the main stage or they were in the transition areas between the stages to you passed them on the way between.  There was a great mix of artisans, corporate (Asus, Telus etc) and food vendors throughout the site. Each stage also had a beer garden along side, so it didn’t look like anyone was waiting very long if they chose to have an adult beverage.  Plenty of washrooms were located in a couple of areas and there was a set of sinks set up so people could fill up on clean tap water for drinking. The organizers encouraging people to bring their own containers to drink from eventhough there was beverages sold by the food vendors. I say kudos to brandLIVE for encouraging the use of tap water and reusable containers!
I cannot say enough good things about the organization of the whole event.

I’m looking forward to having plans on my Labour Day weekends for at least the next few years! See you there!

Over Vancouver – Flightseeing

Flightseeing – Grouse Mountain – July 24, 2010

This week I was able to take my friends, Brian & Teresa, on a fun adventure from YVR to Grouse Mountain – The Peak Of Vancouver as we repositioned a helicopter from our hanger to the mountaintop.  Each day in the Summer Helijet operates amazing flightseeing adventures from our pad next to the Grouse Mountain chalet, starting at just $99/person. 

On this day our adventure began with an easy Canada Line trip from downtown to Bridgeport Station and a short Community Shuttle bus to the Helijet office/hanger at the airport. After a short safety briefing and familiarization by Kim our great pilot,  we departed from the south side of YVR and headed north over the airport.
It was a beautiful clear morning so the views seemed never-ending.  As Delta and the South Arm of the Fraser River fell behind us, the varied skyline of downtown Vancouver mirrored the majestic North Shore Mountains beyond.  This high vantage point gives places and sights we see every day a new and unique perspective.  A sneak peak down into BC Place looking at the renovations happening to the roof-less stadium is a sight not many will get to see. Climbing over Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver and into the mountains, (trying in vain to see if we could spot the black bears that Kim had seen earlier in the week), we soon landed at the Grouse Mountain helipad.  It was a short flight but the memories won’t soon be forgotten, I think Brian and Teresa enjoyed their first Helijet experience and helicopter flight over Vancouver.
The last few years, the Staycation (vacation at home) movement has really taken off and a visit to Grouse Mountain really highlights how much there is to see and do just a few minutes from home.  Many locals think of Grouse Mountain for winter skiing or in summer, the famous Grouse Grind, a hike up to the peak from the valley below. 
Grouse has so much more to offer! In addition to the amazing Helijet Helicopter Tours, there is a whole host of activities to make the most of your trip to the Mountain.  Included with your Grouse Mountain Super Skyride admission is the Theatre In The Sky-a high definition film about the history of Grouse Mountain, the Grizzly Bear habitat (it was feeding time for Grinder and Coola when we were there), Birds Of Prey demonstrations, Logger Sports Show and Chairlift ride to the top of the mountain. Sitting in one of the patios and restaurants at the chalet offer breathtaking views over the whole of Metro Vancouver and, if it’s clear enough, on to Vancouver Island and Washington State. The observation deck in the Eye of the Wind (a power generating wind-turbine). ZipLining and Paragliding are also available on the mountain for additional fees.  
With all this available, it’s easy for the whole family to spend the day on the mountain and not run out of activities. If you are looking for a getaway from the everyday think about a heading up to Grouse Mountain…stop in and say “Hi” to our Helijet staff if you’re there!

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