Studio legends Waddy Wachtel and Leland Sklar performed at the 2019 festival. Record file photo

Studio legends Waddy Wachtel and Leland Sklar performed at the 2019 festival. Record file photo

Vancouver Island MusicFest returning in 2022

Here’s great news for music festival fans – Vancouver Island MusicFest is returning in 2022.

The popular Comox Valley festival has been limited to an online event over the past two years, due to the pandemic. But it returns to the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds July 8-10, 2022, and executive producer Doug Cox is busy preparing for the return of world-class music acts to his various outdoor stages.

“It really feels good, because we really have been laid off for the past few months,” he said. “The whole executive team is returning… so I am thrilled about that. My concern was that you know, people’s lives carry on.”

He said the response of the community to the suspension of the 2020, and subsequently, the 2021 concerts, was integral to the decision to bring the festival back in 2022.

“We have close to 2,000 people sitting on tickets that they have been holding since we cancelled,” said Cox. “That’s partly what has kept the team together. That’s been our inspiration. That show of support is what kept us all going – not just financially. It kept us interested.

“Even the response on Facebook from when I just put out a note saying ‘we’re coming back’ was very encouraging to say the least.”

The festival will follow all public health order COVID protocols, i.e. proof of vaccination, and in an effort to make it as compliant as possible, there will be no barn stage in 2022 – traditionally the only indoor venue at the festival. Organizers have also decided to cap ticket sales at 75 per cent of the usual capacity.

“We feel, if things proceed as they are going right now, with COVID, we are comfortable (with that number),” he said. “We will revisit it in a few months, and if the world gets better, we will add to the capacity,” said Cox. “But we are planning it at 75 per cent capacity, and we will not have the barn this year, because it is the one indoor stage. This will also help us save a little bit of money, without affecting the festival too bad.

“Otherwise, things should look pretty much the same.”

Cox said while the booking process is just now getting underway, fans can expect another wide variety of acts.

“It’s too early to say who will be coming,” he said. “I am working on a smaller budget.”

We have lost a considerable amount of money over the last two years – particularly when we had to cancel 2020, but it’s not that bad of a budget. People will still recognize (the names). They (acts) are starting to reach out, but interestingly, it’s mostly the Americans reaching out, and we probably won’t be having as many Americans as we normally do, just because of budget, and it’s riskier for me to book Americans right now (due to border restrictions).”

Due to the fact that there are already 2,000 tickets sold, and that there is only 75 per cent of the usual numbers available, it’s advisable to purchase tickets sooner, rather than later.

“By cutting the numbers, we know that the majority of our sales will be to people who trust and love the festival,” said Cox. “They are the people that buy all their tickets in advance, before we even announce anybody. They know that we are going to give them the kind of quality festival they have grown accustomed to.”

Ticket sales will start Dec. 1.

Cox said the festival is also looking for new sponsors, as the pandemic took its toll in that regard as well.

Check islandmusicfest.com/ for more details on ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities.

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Vancouver Island MusicFest will return as a live event in 2022. Record file photo

Vancouver Island MusicFest will return as a live event in 2022. Record file photo