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Welcoming back the fans: Vancouver Island MusicFest bringing music to the people again

Off The Page podcast: Marketing manager Sue Wood talks about first in-person festival in two years

It’s been two summers since thousands of music fans gathered at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds, but Sue Wood is getting exciting what this year will bring for an in-person version of Vancouver Island MusicFest.

Wood is the marketing manager for the festival that has been around for 27 years, and the guest on the fourth edition of the Comox Valley Record’s new podcast, Off The Page, which is out Feb. 16.

In the episode, Wood talks about getting ready following two years of shifting to an online-only event, navigating pandemic regulations, changes to the festival and upcoming performers.

“The reality is, is the festival is one where thousands of people gather together in that beautiful environment at the exhibition grounds and celebrate the music and the friendships that go with that. So you know, it’s not so much of a return to normal, but just taking the lid off, because we’ve been chomping at the bit to get back at it.”

This year, all volunteers and attendees who plan on going to the festival (set for July 8 to 10) will have to show proof of vaccination and adhere to the provincial rules and regulations for COVID in place at the time, Wood explained.

She added the goal is to keep safety first and ensure the space is safe for everyone who attends.

“We really are focused on bringing this festival back to its original form, which is live and in person, where you can stand and celebrate the music in front of the people who are playing it, enjoy all of the fellowship and friends and dust, mud, rain, sun, bugs and everything that goes with it.”

In terms of volunteers, Wood said 90 per cent of volunteer crews are already slated to return. Many have been with the festival since its inception in 1995 and noted it’s always extra special to see generations of volunteers - kids and grandkids who sign up to help out.

“And my favourite thing is some of them were conceived there,” she added with a laugh.

“So with a history that’s 25 years long some of those volunteers have been there for 25 years. We’re in a very lucky position. And we’re very, very grateful for that kind of support.”

As for her favourite performer or band that she’s particularly excited to hear this year?

You’ll have to listen to Off The Page in order to find out.

To listen to the full episode, download Off The Page on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and everywhere podcasts are heard, or visit New episodes of Off The Page drop every Wednesday.

To submit podcast topics or guest ideas, email

Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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