Passenger was one of the performers who returned to the festival following his set to enjoy the sights and sounds that Vancouver Island MusicFest had to offer. Photo by Erica Farrell

MusicFest weekend in the Comox Valley ‘fantastic’

Walk Off the Earth, other acts liven up annual music festival in Comox Valley

With clear skies and warm temperatures bathing the crowd at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds, the organizer of Vancouver Island MusicFest says the annual festival this last weekend was “fantastic.”

Artistic director and producer of VIMF Doug Cox notes there were no major security issues or events over the course of the festival, which ran July 13-15. The event featured Ontario rockers Walk Off The Earth, U.K. singer/songwriter Passenger, and folk legend Arlo Guthrie.

But for Cox, the highlight of the weekend was meeting American musician Ry Cooder. 

“It was really one of the most fun moments of my life. He is personally one of my favourites and I’ve been trying to get him to come for 22 years.”

Cox and Cooder snapped a rare backstage photo together and Cox says Cooder had a great time at the festival.

The musician wasn’t the only one enjoying the weekend; Passenger, otherwise known as Mike Rosenberg, was seen around the festival site following his Saturday night set on the main stage.

Cox explains he was having a good time, and spent all of Sunday exploring the music and sounds of VIMF.

“That’s a good sign,” he says, and adds previous performers such as David Crosby and Emmylou Harris have spent additional time at the site outside of their respective performances.

“(The festival) is far enough away (geographically) and I think they love that it’s not a huge music industry event. Sometimes they’re unsure of where they’re going to, and they might expect things to be a little bit rickety. But our production standards, especially on the main stage, are incredible. I hear that more and more.

“(It’s a festival) performers now have on their bucket list.”

Cox notes one change that was a success this year was the reconfiguration at the Grassy Knoll site – a now-licenced area that still allows kids to enter, and included a large tent for shade.

He says while sound will be improved for next year along with tent placement, “for the first try, it was great.”

The dates for MusicFest 2019 have already been set – July 12 to 14. For more information, visit Islandmusicfest.com.

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