Exploring the atmosphere at the inaugural Element Music Festival

New B.C. interior music festival brings sound, lights and love to summer

Though man-made, S’Nug was clean and cool and provided much needed refreshment. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Though man-made, S’Nug was clean and cool and provided much needed refreshment. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

While my sunburn is gone, the memories of the wonderful people I met and the pumped-up tunes at the Element Music Festival will forever remain imprinted in my mind.

Prior to Element, I had never set foot on the grounds of any music festival. Heading out to Element, I had no idea what to expect.

Upon arriving at the festival grounds, I realized how far-removed from any sign of civilization it was. In fact, the 160-acre property, situated between Princeton and Aspen Grove, can only be reached by travelling for miles down an old logging road.

When I finally arrived late Saturday morning, I noticed the security presence at the front gate wasn’t at all heavy. It consisted of a shirtless man in a cowboy hat riding a quad and a woman with a heavy Irish accent wearing a fake police hat, both had beers in their hands. Their demeanor definitely revealed that Element’s party starts right at the front door.

Yet despite both “security” personnel holding beer, Element was most certainly a family-friendly festival and activities for kids were spread out across the venue. For those who brought their children or who simply wanted some peace and quiet come 3 a.m., there were designated areas for family camping as well.

Buddy & the Scarecrow on stage. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Buddy & the Scarecrow on stage. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Between groups of tents and trailers there were people doing cooking, making banners and crafts, playing guitar and practicing yoga. The music hadn’t even started yet, but people were already into it.

The venue was stunning to say the least. Beyond the ticket booth was a steep hill down to the lodge, the stage and S’Nug Lake. From the hill you could take in the whole valley and all its beauty.

After getting sufficiently sunburnt at the lake, I wandered over to the main stage, drawn by the sound of music.

Vancouver-based Five Alarm Funk hopped up on stage with an explosive performance, the best of many great performances at the festival. Bringing what seemed like the whole campground, about 200 people, down to the stage, they rocked out for hours.

Their killer performance gave me the energy to go on for the rest of the night, right until 4 a.m. I don’t think I’ll ever forget, or get out of my head, the song “We All Scream.”

With any luck, Five Alarm Funk will be back next year, too. Keither Duggan, Element’s head organizer has said that next year’s festival will be an even grander event than this year’s inaugural offering.

“We’re going to do Element next year, bigger, better, more complete,” Duggan said. “The plan is to do two festivals and one big concert with big name acts every summer, but I don’t think we are ready. I imagine summer of 2018 will be the first year we do the big concert and really put the venue on the map.”

Though Duggan was somewhat disappointed with the turnout being less than the expected 600 to 800 partygoers, he described the situation as a blessing in disguise.

“We could have done 600-800 people this year no problem. But having done 300, made everything real easy,” Duggan said. “We didn’t lose that much money. If I had to guess, we probably lost around $10,000 this year and for a festival’s first year that isn’t bad.”

“We planted seeds this year. From what I know, every person that was there, is coming back next year and they’re bringing friends,” Duggan added.