Skookum festival announces music lineup headed by Florence + the Machine and The Killers


Kelly Derrickson Singer Songwriter

The Killers and Florence + The Machine will headline the inaugural Skookum festival to take place after Labour Day weekend in Stanley Park.

The musical lineup was released at an event at Chambar Restaurant Tuesday afternoon and includes 50 stage performances featuring an impressive selection of international, national and B.C.-based artists. From Canadian mega-acts Metric, Mother Mother and Blue Rodeo to buzz bands such as L.A.’s Greta Van Fleet or Snotty Nose Rez Kids, the selection includes a fine sampling of rock, pop, hip hop/R&B, folk and more. The lineup is more similar to a jazz or folk fest than a rock event.

“Our first meeting with the park board was in April of 2016, so we have been actively working hard behind the scenes on this for some time,” said BrandLive’s Paul Runnals. “We’ve really wanted to build something that is sustainable financially, environmentally and so on and so forth. We think we have something that is right-sized and in the right location so you can go to bed in your own home rather than camping.”

Paul Runnals is senior VP creative and production for BrandLive, producer of the 2018 Skookum Festival.  DARPANMOVIES / PNG

The name originates from a word in the historical Chinook trading language of the Pacific Northwest which means “strong, brave and impressive.” In more contemporary jargon, it also means “right on.” Skookum doesn’t just pay lip service to the history behind its name.

Noting that the festival is situated on the shared territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, co-producers BrandLive and Virgin Mobile have put extra focus into including “Indigenous musicians, chefs and visual artists, as well as an opportunity to inform and educate attendees on aspects of their historical connections to the land.”

“Look over the roster and you’ll see a pattern of strong representation of talent from B.C., great Canadian talent and notable Indigenous talent,” he said. “We really made an effort to break down a lot of those barriers in music and culture to give it something that speaks to both the traditional 20-, 30-year-old festival demographic as well as 40-, 50-year-olds.”

The lineup of First Nations artists is easily the largest seen at any major rock-oriented event, with names such as Crystal Shawanda, Kelly Derrickson, Murray Porter and the legendary Buffy Sainte Marie all appearing. By pursuing a unique creative idea that takes place in September, the festival didn’t have to get into as much competition with all the rest of North America’s summer festivals.

“We’re hoping that we are building on something that can be built up year after year which isn’t a Squamish or Pemberton 2.0,” said Runnals. “And we are really looking at a big food component, including some long-table dinners with some of the city’s notable restaurants, picnic baskets you can pre-order and much more. Watch for the buildup in the next few months.”
Announcing the lineup just before the big events of the 2018 Junos was deliberate. Runnals said it made sense to contribute to the excitement building around local music going on right now in the city and beyond.

Skookum musical lineup:

The Killers, Florence + the Machine, Metric, Arkells, The War On Drugs, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Blue Rodeo, Mother Mother, Chromeo, Bahamas, Stereophonics, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cold War Kids, Greta Van Fleet, Dear Rouge, Buffy Sainte Marie, Matt Mays, Current Swell, Black Pistol Fire, Whitehorse, Matt Anderson, Said The Whale, Yukon Blonde, The Zolas, Hey Ocean!, Midnight Shine, Delhi 2 Dublin, Barney Bentall, The Julian Taylor Band, Crystal Shawanda, The Matinée, Belle Game, Little Destroyer,The Boom Booms feat Ta’Kaiya Blaney, William Prince, Shred Kelly, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Kelly Derrickson, Murray Porter, Mob Bounce, daysormay, Bitterly Divine, The Carnival Band and Zynth & Co.

Skookum Music.Food.Art

When: Sept. 7-9, TBA

Where: Stanley Park

Tickets and info: