The West Coast welcomed hundreds of live-music lovers to the fifth annual Otalith Music Festival’s positive ambience on Aug. 18 and 19.
“We wanted to come enjoy music, camp and surf all in one weekend,” said Victoria local Jennifer Williams who attended the festival for the first time this year and assured she would “of course” return.
“It’s really mellow and groovy, but it’s a lot more upbeat than I expected. It’s a lot of fun and it’s really cozy. You make a lot of friends easily here.”
North Vancouverite Katherine Rivera was excited to return for her second Otalith experience and convinced her friend Sophie Mitchell to join her this year.
“I told her to come because I loved it so much,” Rivera said. “It’s not as crazy as other festivals. It’s a close-knit community. It’s like a family. It’s very intimate for sure.”
With a musical lineup that boasts roughly 20 local and out-of-town bands and DJ’s, Otalith provides an attractive lure for festival fans and it’s also earned a solid reputation amongst families delighted to be able to bring their young kids.
Nanaimo’s Macy Pedersen is not quite two years old yet, but she enjoyed her second Otalith experience this year with her parents Sean and Dana.
“We were here last year and we had a rad time,” Dana said adding Macy was thrilled to return.
“The second my daughter got out of the car and heard the music, she was spinning and having so much fun…It’s a family event; it’s awesome. Everybody can come.”
Kamloops local James Bayntun brought 11 month old Emery to the event.
“It’s been great,” he said. “There’s tons of people with families and it’s been really fun.”
Ukee local Candice Bone loved walking around Saturday’s fairgrounds with three-month-old Rockwell Hale in tow.
“It’s fabulous,” she said. “It’s just nice to have community like this; small town vibes.”
Aline Carrier said her hometown’s positive atmosphere is the perfect setting for Otalith’s relaxed fairgrounds.
“It’s awesome for the vibe. People can have a break, enjoy themselves and let it go,” she said. “It’s amazing. Everyone is so nice and everyone is really chilled out and enjoying their time.”
Graham Beisel agreed and said the event provides a valuable local boost to moods and activity.
“It’s a big local event. It supports lots of local businesses and there’s lots of cool people and fun times. It’s also really relaxed. There’s no pressure to party too hard and you can just be chill,” he said.
Carol Sedgwick added that the festival provides a nice change of pace as musicians travel to the West Coast, rather than the West Coast traveling to see them.
“We all travel all over to these music festivals, so why not have one at home and have everyone come here? It’s a really great place and atmosphere and it’s a great event,” she said.
While the festival seemingly doubled Ucluelet’s population for the weekend, local police reported no major concerns and praised Otalith’s organizers for collaborating with local law enforcement.
“If we can have the support of the organizers to help us out and work together, it obviously makes it that much more enjoyable for everybody. That’s what’s happened here and it’s been great,” said Ucluelet’s RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Steve Mancini. “It brings a lot of people to town and a lot of positive to town and it can showcase the community. We support it and we enjoy it.”