Festival season is neigh! Without a doubt, the festivals from May – September of any year remains stedfast in the top 3 reasons why the West Coast is, of course, the Best Coast. We are spoilt for choice in the Pacific North West for music festivals overflowing with talent, fun, and the inevitable festival outfits. All amongst the glorious sights Cascadia has to offer. However no matter how amazing, how stunning, how utterly mind-meltingly momentous a festival line-up is, there will always be those who complain the line-up it is terrible.

““Oh Yuck, there is SO much Hip-Hop this year.”

“What!? Who are even half these bands, I’ve never heard of them.”

“Hipster Bullshit.”

“Could this line up BE any more stuck in the 90’s?””

— – Facebook Comments

Mo-Money Mo-Beer™: RTS 2013 - Kirsten James Creative Mo-Money Mo-Beer™: RTS 2013 – Kirsten James Creative

So, let’s base this strictly on the one thing we can all agree on – cold hard cash. Or as I like to say, Mo-Money Mo-Beer. First, I know i’m missing out on some of the smaller more niche festivals around; Otalith, Tall Tree, Rock of the Woods, etc. However, for this I wanted to focus on the PNW’s proverbial “Big 5”.



Rock the Shores



This is all taxes, “convenience” fees, shipping & handing, etc., in. Of course it has a bit of an island bias in terms of cost saving because you won’t have to shell out the cash for hotels/camping when you stick around Victoria – but hey we are YYJ rocktographers.

Oh, and because I’m all about saving you lovelies time, I’ve converted everything into the currency of the True North (Which is unfortunately not as strong or fee as I’d like it to be currently).

Exchange rate of 1 USD : 1.26 CAD – all costs calculated per person.

Sasquatch – $132.08/day

If you’ve ever excitedly ran up “the hill” to have your breath taken away, not only by the climb but by the spectacular view of the Columbia Gorge – you know that Sasquatch feeling. The venue can not be beat, nestled carefully on the mountain side in an amphitheatre style, you are guaranteed to never have a bad view. Pair this with epic campground parties every night (last year a group across from us had a full on karaoke set-up – KAR-A-OKE YOU GUYS!), Sasquatch is the most fun you can have getting dirty with 20,000 strangers.

4 days May 22-25
$350 USD Ticket Cost
+ $149.50 USD Camping (per car, up to 6 people)
+ $22 USD service fee
+ $20 s/h USD
= $541.50 USD ($683.62 CAD) for 1 person and 1 camping pass.
– ($149.50/4) – assuming 4 people are sharing because, let’s be real, 6 people in a car with all your camping gear is probably not going to happen.
$416.91 USD per person = $528.32 per person CAD


Pemberton – $102/Day

Bottom Right: Mo-Money Mo-Beers™ in action  – Kirsten James Creative

Although we are still awaiting the line up, Pemberton is back for its second year since being revived by Huka Entertainment. Also a stunning venue, the festival is nestled safely in a valley that effectively places you in the buttcrack of the mountain range – but in a good way (like, this is the Chris Evan’s of buttcracks). Last year there was a SLIDE, and a ZIP LINE. This year there is going to be a freakin’ BALL PIT – oh and I guess music will happen at some point too.

4 days July 16-19
$299 CAD Ticket Cost
+ $89 camping per person
+ $20 Service Fees (Estimated)
$408 per person


Rock The Shores – $82.25/Day

Just announced today Rock the Shores has scaled back to 2 days while offering a line-up full of punches. Seeing as RTS and Pemberton are on the same weekend I can imagine when Pemberton finally announces its line up we will see some more cross over between the festivals.

2 days July 18 & 19
+ $15 Service Fees (Estimated, Tickets on sale Friday)
$164.50 per person


Squamish – $147.50/Day

The most expensive of the PNW Big 5, and consequently the only one I have not attended myself. If I was Ron Swanson I would say this about Squamish;

3 days August 7-9
$336 CAD Ticket Cost
+ $350 camping (up to 4 people)
+ $15 s/h
+ $4 processing fee
= $705 for 1 person and 1 camping pass
– ($350/4)- assuming 4 people are sharing the camping pass

$442.50 per person


Rifflandia $34.81/Day

Ah Rifflandia, the cherry on top of the festival season. Rifflanda heralds the end another year of festing, and as if Atomique knows you’ve had a long hard summer and your wallet is empty, it is also the most affordable at a mere $34.81 per day if you buy your tickets now.

4 days Sept 17-20
$125 (early bird)
+ $14.25 Service Fees
= $139.25 per person



Photos: Top – Kirsten James Creative, Bottom – Tyson Elder

Of course, I can’t write a whole cost saving article on the Mo-Money Mo-Beer™ principle without comparing the costs of libations at the various festivals. Straight up, Pemberton, Squamish, and Sasquatch the beer is expensive, we’re talking $8 – $14 range, plus the selection is terrible. You want some Molson Canadian, or Bud – well then you’re set, enjoy your mouth tasting like that for the rest of the day.

The island festivals, Rock the Shores and Rifflandia, are the clear winner here in terms of quality and selection. The fun to look at, and fun to drink from, Phillips brewing truck has the ability to offer 6 different brews from Ginger Beer, Raspberry Wheat, to crowd favourites like Blue Buck and session ale Elsinore. The sight of the smiling volunteers waving their flags never ceases to put me in a great mood. Plus, the delicious craft beer for around $6-$8 is so decadent you can take a page from Pol Plastino’s play book, and use it to cool yourself off after a long day of festing.

It is worth mentioning if you are of the family inclination that Rock the Shores and Rifflandia blow it out of the park on cost savings on that front as well. When accompanied by a wristband wearing adult, children 10 and under are eligible for a free Park Pass or a free Single Day Park Pass making for a great family weekend on the cheap!


-All photos Kirsten James Creative unless otherwise noted