Our summers are filled with music festivals, but one of our absolute favourites is happening this week in Ucluelet and Tofino: The Otalith Music Festival.

Otalith is a diverse and well-curated music festival housed on the far wild west coast of Vancouver Island in the temperate rain forest. It is a destination festival unlike any other (plus it doesn’t require an expensive ferry ride).

Here at YYJ Rocktographers, we have decided to put together a few survival tips for newcomers heading to the festival later this week.

Pack for the weather. Like, all of the weather.

Traditionally, the weekend Otalith has picked for the festival is the driest and sunniest weekend of the summer. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. On the first night of the first Otalith, there was an unrelenting downpour throughout the Kathryn Calder and Yukon Blonde sets, and afterwards, the temperature dropped. The next day, it was beautiful and sunny. Last year, the festival fluctuated between fog, sun, scattered showers, and more fog. Be ready for anything. Bring your gumboots, adventure hats, and short shorts.

Camping is more fun with friends. If you are camping across from the festival at the Ucluelet Campground, make sure to arrive with your friends. There is no guarantee that you’ll be camping together, and rumour has it you can’t save spots. Everyone in the campground is really friendly, and pretty soon your neighbours are long lost friends. Share a beer, a coffee, or breakfast with a neighbour and you’ve got a pal for life.

Explore. There are amazing beaches, trails, restaurants, and more in the Ucluelet and Tofino. Don’t make being at a music festival the only reason you are in the most beautiful part of Vancouver Island. We plan on filling our growlers at Tofino Brewing Company, eating tacos at the original Tacofino, surfing, and checking out nature and surf photographer Kyler Vos’ recently opened art gallery.

Rock out. Otalith prides itself on their curation of musical acts (or, at least, we think they should). There is nowhere else you’ll find a lineup like this on Vancouver Island, let alone the rest of the PNW. Soak in everything. This could be your only chance to see acts like The Dodos, The Coup, and The Black Lips on the Island.

Beer mugs. Otalith does something super cool and environmentally conscious. They sell reusable beer mugs. Get them early, because they sell out fast. We are hoping they do the same thing as previous years with their mugs. For $15 you get a reusable camp mug Otalith branded mug with a beer ticket. How cool is that? You get a sweet mug and a beer. It’s like the perfect pairing.

Be respectful. The music festival is family friendly. There are lots of kids around having just as much fun as the adults. So make sure to keep the cussing to a minimum and be conscious of your actions. The same goes in the campground. We are adults and we can have a different kinds of fun than kids, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see and hear what we do. This is a general good rule for life.

Bring your dancing boots. Otalith gets fun, wet, dancey, and the party can go all night. Be prepared for fun, and be prepared for the Otalith Music Festival to become part of your summer festival traditions.

Tickets to the Otalith Music Festival are still available, but camping passes are almost sold out. You can find everything Otalith at otalithfestival.com