With an eye for up-and-coming unknowns and enviro-minded revelry, Fernie’s Wapiti Music Festival has cool culture by the horns. By Shelby Knudsen.
Correction: Please note that in KMC#33 it was erroneously stated that “Sunday is kept free.” In fact, the Wapiti Music Festival concludes on Saturday night. We apologize for the mistake.
One spectacular weekend in August: 150 volunteers, 1,500 music fans and 12 indie bands ready to explode in an ocean of Fernie Brewing Company beer. Wapiti Music Festival in the outdoor Mecca of Fernie, British Columbia, is a community-oriented, live music-loving gathering, one with a bent for live performance, a knack for booking soon-to-be-famous acts, and an admirable commitment to sustainability.
“I’m looking for exceptional bands that the masses haven’t heard of … yet,” says Chantel Souliere, one of the original Wapiti visionaries. “It’s all about the Fernie stoke.”The Dead South, Shred Kelly, Five Alarm Funk and the Strumbellas have all graced the stage. And when you’re not rocking out, let local sushi purveyor Yamagoya spin up a Krista Roll for you, take a lick of your honeycomb from Fernie’s Happy Cow ice cream shop and wander through the “food court in the forest,” where painted antlers and handmade fairy wands hang from the trees.
Bordered by the granite barricades of the Lizard Range and the clear waters of the Elk River, Wapiti is a multigenerational dance party because children and seniors enjoy free admission. It is the recipient of Fernie’s Greenest Event Award and organizers are striving to be even better, with onsite compost, recycled steel cups and an ultimate goal to be waste-free.
This year’s Wapiti Festival will take place August 10-11 and you can find out more information at: wapitimusicfestival.com.