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Dos and don’ts for Vancouver Island MusicFest

“Do come and have fun and bring your family; don’t be a jerk,” says executive producer, Doug Cox
Tools of the trade at the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Photo by Terry Farrell

It’s almost here!

Stages are being set for Vancouver Island MusicFest, which runs July 14-16 at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

Here are some important tips to remember when heading to the festival - dos and don’ts, courtesy of MusicFest executive producer, Doug Cox.

“Do come and have fun and bring your family; don’t be a jerk,” Cox quipped.

Propane stoves only

“But seriously, the biggest news we have is that as of right now we are still allowing propane firepits at the festival for the people who are packing up to go camping and stuff, but that could change at any time. We’ll have lots of fire buckets all over the place and we are asking people to only use propane stove - no open fires are allowed. Bring a fire mat if you have one, and of course we do have the right to shut it (propane firepit) down if they are in a dangerous spot, if we deem it to be dangerous, or if a fire ban comes up.”

Cox is also requesting any smokers to bring their own ‘butt cans’ with them.

“That’s a bigger fire hazard in a lot of ways than propane,” said Cox. “Some people even have those little pocket things that you put your butts into. I’ve seen those at quite a few festivals.”

Alcohol rules

Campers are allowed their own alcohol at their campsites, but will not be allowed to bring alcohol into the concert venue.

The entire venue is licenced again this year, giving festival-goers the opportunity to enjoy a beverage while listening to a show.

• Minors caught with alcohol will be brought to the RCMP and removed from the site.

• Any Adult caught contributing alcohol to a minor will be taken to the RCMP and removed from the site.

No glass containers will be allowed on site at all. Bags will be checked upon entry at the main gates.

“The glass ban is mostly because of the horses that are there throughout the year,” said Cox. “We proudly leave that place cleaner than it is when we arrive usually.”

Leave your pets at home

No pets of any type are allowed anywhere on the grounds, and this includes the campsite, including inside trailers.


Parking is all around the site, and at Vanier School ($5 per vehicle).

Limited free parking is available at the Comox Valley Sports and Aquatic centre, with the exception of Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. due to the Comox valley Farmers’ Market.

The First Student shuttles will be running from Courtenay (Driftwood Mall) and Comox (Comox Presbyterian Church). The shuttles run until 1 a.m. every evening, and if the 1 a.m. shuttle is full, they will return for any remaining riders.

Lawn chairs and blankets

Low-rider lawn chairs are allowed in the main audience area. Low-rider chairs are typically within 6” to 8” off the ground, not your regular lawn chair. Many attendees like to reserve space in front of the Concert Bowl Stage for the evening performances. However, many of the daytime performers find themselves playing to a sea of empty blankets and those who want to enjoy the show cannot get close to the stage. To improve this situation, management has established a Transitional Seating Area where no blankets or tarps are to be left unattended at all. In the ‘one-hour low riders, blankets and tarps only area’ you are allowed to leave things for one hour. If left longer, your tarps and blankets will be folded up in order to make room for other audience members.

Hot, hot heat!

The forecast for the weekend is temperatures in the mid- to high-20s, meaning hydration will be key.

“Be prepared for heat, for sure,” said Cox. “Bring sunglasses, bring sunscreen, bring water. We will have our water crew on hand as always.”

• All the onsite camping spots are sold out, but there are still spots available at neighbouring campgrounds.

For more information, or to buy tickets, go to

ALSO: Vancouver Island MusicFest lands international superstar Sarah McLachlan
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The Bros. Landreth will be performing at Vancouver Island MusicFest this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BNB Studios *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rickie Lee Jones will headline Vancouver Island MusicFest, July 14-16, 2023 at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds
Angelique Francis (seen here in concert with her sister, Kira, playing trombone) won the 2023 Juno for Blues Album of the Year on March 11. Francis and her family will be playing at Vancouver Island MusicFest this summer. Photo via Doug Cox
Sarah McLachlan will take to the main stage at Vancouver Island MusicFest on Friday, July 14. Photo supplied
Galactic, a funk band from New Orleans, will be playing at Vancouver Island MusicFest this summer. Photo by Josh Brasted Photography.

Terry Farrell

About the Author: Terry Farrell

Terry returned to Black Press in 2014, after seven years at a daily publication in Alberta. He brings 24 years of editorial experience to Comox Valley Record...
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