Great music, good neighbours, and plenty of dancing – the Wapiti Music Festival returns to Fernie

The Wapiti Music Festival returns to Fernie Aug 10 and 11 and features some of the best up and coming Canadian independent acts.

Dust off your dancing shoes folks because the second annual Wapiti Music Festival is right around the corner.

The two-day event, taking place at Annex Park in Fernie on August 10 and 11, features some of the best up and coming acts on the Canadian independent music scene.

“I think we really hit it out of the park this year,” said Chantel Souliere, marketing manager for the festival.

“On the music end, we are looking really hard and hand picking these bands that will break out in the next year,” said Souliere. “I’m really looking forward to the Born Ruffians, and Cuff The Duke has the perfect sound for Fernie.”

The rest of the lineup includes The Boom Booms, The Belle Game, The British Columbians, Five Alarm Funk, Red Girl, Michael Rault, Stellar Radio Choir, Sean Ashby, and this is The Shoes.

Last year’s festival had 1,200 people come out and enjoy the festivities. This year, organizers are aiming for 1,500 people.

“We want to grow the festival slowly, adding a couple hundred people every year,” said Souliere, adding that tickets are going fast and a lot are being sold out of town.

“We want to get bigger but keep our grassroots feel,” said Souliere. “People loved it last year because it wasn’t so commercial. It really was a party in our backyard.”

Souliere hopes the backyard party feel continues this year.

“Last year there was this massive dance floor. Everyone was rocking out and dancing. It created this big dust storm,” said Souliere. “This year we want to see the same thing. We want kids and old people dancing. We just want to have a good time.”

Children 12 and under and seniors 65 and older can enjoy the festival for free.

The festival’s roots can be traced back to September 2010, when Souliere and five others would meet every week at the Brickhouse in Fernie. After some debate, organizers settled on the name Wapiti, meaning Elk.

“Everybody in Fernie has always thought we need a kick ass festival,” said Souliere. “In the beginning we were trying to establish who we were and what we are about. After the success of last year we can take a deep breath because it caught on and it was successful.”

Souliere encourages people to get their tickets early as they will be capped and once they’re gone, hopeful festival goers will be out of luck.

Advance weekend passes are available for $45 plus tax until August 1, or until they’re sold out, whichever comes first. Tickets are available at Le Grand Fromage in Fernie or online at

Those wishing to volunteer during the weekend can sign up at the festival’s website. There will be a volunteer orientation Aug. 1, 7 p.m. at The Arts Station in Fernie.

Volunteers will receive free passes as well as a free festival t-shirt.