Industry veterans launch brand new B.C. music festival

Organizers looking to provide a uniquely B.C. experience with a freshly built venue

One of the views offered by the 157-acre property between Princeton and Merritt, where the festival is set to take place in late July. (Provided)

One of the views offered by the 157-acre property between Princeton and Merritt, where the festival is set to take place in late July. (Provided)

A group of industry veterans have come together to bring music lovers a brand new outdoor festival. Located on a 157-acre piece of property between Princeton and Merritt, the Element Music Festival will bring 14 acts from around Canada and the United States to its stages in late July.

On stage will be a broad selection of musicians playing roots, groove, funk, folk, jam, jazz, reggae and live electronic performances. The lineup is a curated group of artists hand-picked by festival organizers, who are music and event industry veterans.

“We’re all huge music lovers. We’ve been going to festivals since we were teenagers. We’re all fans of live music, but we’re huge fans of live music where the musicians have serious chops,” said organizer Keith Duggan.

The festival lineup includes prog rock five-piece Genetics out of Denver, Colorado, Vancouver’s Five Alarm Funk, Kytami with Phonik Ops, Adham Shaikh & the Outworld Okrestra and more.

“We didn’t want hip hop. We didn’t want country music and we didn’t want heavy metal. Everything else is fair game,” Duggan said.

Duggan is one of five main organizers. He started out in the industry as a “guy with gloves” with a concert company, eventually working his way up and going back to school to attain a degree in entertainment business management. Along with contracts with record labels, working in radio and further event work at large Vancouver festivals, his accolades also include a tour with Iron Maiden.

Now Duggan and the other founders who bring a similar level of experience want to create something of their own that they love and provide festival-goers with a uniquely B.C. experience at the same time.

“We wanted an outdoor venue with campgrounds, a big stage, rigging… a real, true outdoor venue that operates four months of the year. We figured that all it really takes is to find the right piece of property, some money and some elbow grease. That was the birthing of the idea,” Duggan said.

The venue is a 157-acre property that was purchased with the festival in mind about a year ago. It features a lake, forests, hiking trails and creeks, with plenty of space for camping and music.

According to Duggan, the festival will set itself apart with “incredible sound, in an incredible spot with breathtaking views.”

“Does it get any better than that?”

The Element Music Festival will take place from July 29 to 31 at 750 Pike Mountain Forest Service Road off Highway 5A between Princeton and Merritt. More information and tickets can be found at www.elementfestival.info.