Robson Valley Music Festival takes intermission

Max Magee is only two months old, but he enjoyed his first festival being doted on by his mother and her two friends. Festival organizer Shara Gustafson said the festival took a turn for the better this year with big focus on family, music and the arts. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

by Andru McCracken
Every Saturday evening at the Robson Valley Music Festival there is an intermission from live music that allows the sound crew (arguably the most important performers at the festival) to recharge, eat dinner and prepare for what comes next – an awesome, often thrilling night of bombastic performance. This year, the festival organizers realize that the five-person power crew behind the organization need an intermission too.

Among musicians, the festival has a reputation as one of the best music festivals in the province and for the myriad families who participated with kids in tow, this summer was the best one yet. Despite the accolades and achievements over 13 years, the festival won’t happen in 2018.

“We need to take a year off,” said Shara Gustafson, who spends thousands of hours each year working on the festival. “We need some time to recharge our batteries.”

Gustafson said a small group of coordinators have been taking on really large roles.

“It’s been 13 years going hard we all need a break to focus on some other things,” said Gustafson. “Not because the festival hasn’t been successful, amazing and wonderful, but because we need some time to breathe.”

For instance, a building next to the hospitality area called the jam shack needs to be torn down, she said but with summers filled with preparations for the music festival it hasn’t happened.

They also want to finish work on an Earth Ship recording studio on the property.

It’s not that the organizers are disillusioned, just tired. And they want to take time to consider what they can do differently. There has been talk of even tighter reins on alcohol and drugs, selling more tickets beforehand to reduce the anxiety and developing a broader volunteer base. So if you are shocked and saddened that the festival won’t happen next year, it may be your cue to help out for 2019.

Gustafson looks forward to the future.

“It will give us some time to reinvent a few things. We got closest to what we envisioned this year,” she said. “This one was the most peaceful yet. There were so many families and kids, it was just beautiful!”

“In 2019 we will come back stronger than ever and we will pick up where we left off.”