Element Music Festival: Bringing Independent Festival Production Back to the Scene
Snug Lake Amphitheatre
Princeton, British Columbia
Words by Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
In today’s monopolized music scene where a few behemoths rule the roost, it’s rare to see any independent events gaining traction. Some producers have gone to great lengths to curtail the market in their favor, including everything from creating a single source of tickets for an entire market to the outright buying of venues. However, a new event has emerged on the horizon and it’s safe to say this festival has very little to do with the status quo. Element Music Festival combines incredible music and location with the type of innovation that can only come from promoters outside of the inner circle. In just their second year not only has Element booked The String Cheese Incident in Canada for three nights, but they have also cultivated a Garaj Mahal reunion, a band who hasn't performed together in almost a decade. That alone is enough to turn heads, but what’s more impressive is Snug Lake Amphitheatre, the home of Element Music Festival.
For many, the thought of attending a festival can be stressful. Between overlapping sets and the massive sea of people it can all be overwhelming. Element Music Festival and it’s home Snug Lake Amphitheatre has been created by music fans for music fans. First, the venue offers a single stage, meaning you don’t have to run miles to catch the next set. Each group is given their time and they too don’t have to worry about performing for an empty field. Beyond the music, the amenities at the venue are staggering. Nestled in the northern tip of the Cascade Mountain Range this natural amphitheater boasts miles of hiking trails, a massive campground, running creeks, amazing views, and the on-site lake from which its name originates. Swimming is allowed all day long giving fans ample opportunity to cool off in the spring-fed lake. Future plans include a disc golf course, bike trails, horseback riding and a wilderness lodge with forty plus beds.
The headliners alone are worth the trip to British Columbia, but the supporting acts are equally impressive. The Steve Kimock and Friends lineup includes Dead & Company’s Jeff Chimenti on keys, Zero’s Bobby Vega on bass, and Steve’s incredibly talented son John Morgan Kimock on drums. This super group is sure to treat us to some deep psychedelic jams and intricate guitar work. Several Vancouver based acts are also on the bill, giving people who travel from the U.S. a taste of the local sound. Five Alarm Funk, Brickhouse and Big Easy Funk Ensemble will treat fans to their own style of live music. Colorado favorites Genetics will be making their second trip up to Element Music Festival as well.
The team producing Element Music Festival consists of like-minded industry professionals who were looking for something different. They came together and with international support they have created something enviable at Snug Lake. They are off-grid, ecologically-minded music fans who wanted to create an alternative to the industrialization of live music and artists. They have a long term plan to continually improve the venue while inviting talented performers to come play in the meantime. And at just year two, Element Music Festival is poised to take the scene by storm.
One other item of note is the alcohol policy at Element. There will be no alcohol sales within the festival grounds, meaning this whole shindig is BYOB. You are allowed to drink your own booze anywhere on the festival grounds as long as it’s not in a glass container & you've purchased a drinking wristband. Did I mention that the drinking age in Canada is 19? While other festivals clamp down on outside drinks, Element encourages you to do your own thing, even if the legal drinking age in your hometown is not for a couple more years.
While you may be reading this simply as a festival preview, you should see it as a call to action. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor of a magical event that is just getting started. Under the guidance of the caretakers at the Snug Lake Amphitheater, this festival has the potential to blossom into something incredible. In just their short time producing and promoting concerts they are already bringing in monumental talent with a focus on creating a premiere experience for everyone in attendance. I guess it’s time to start packing!